Worried glances all round this evening as Nigel Pearson has been spotted in Sunderland. His arrival in town is accompanied by rapidly descending odds that the big man is in line to take over at the Stadium of Light.
Say it quietly so as not to alarm the local populace, but Nigel Pearson has been spotted in Sunderland this afternoon as the Black Cats' hunt for a new boss enters a third and decisive week.
Reports over the last 24 hours have indicated the club have held informal discussions with representatives of various prospective managers and that chief executive Martin Bain is now ready to begin interviews with those on his shortlist.
If the sightings are anything to go by, that appears to be kicking off with a meeting tomorrow with much-travelled former Leicester boss Pearson.
The 53-year-old was most recently manager at Derby County. He was suspended last September after a row with the Rams' owner and left the club by mutual consent in October with the club slumped towards the bottom of the Championship.
A controversial character, Pearson was dismissed from Leicester after that unpleasant incident which involved his son, a gaggle of reserve team players and some ladies of the night. However, after saving the Foxes from the drop in a miracle escape in 2015, the former defender was widely credited with assembling the team which would go on to win the Premier League.
Pearson has spent time as assistant at Newcastle as well as a couple of stints as caretaker at St James Park. His last involvement with the Magpies came in early 2008 before departing upon Kevin Keegan's return. He's also had spells at Southampton and Hull City.
A reputation for taking no-nonsense and for fighting wild dogs, some may believe Pearson is just what the troubled squad at the Stadium of Light require right now. With allegations that players refused to take to the field during the final days of David Moyes' rein and historical issues with playing staff appearing to rule the roost at the club, a firm hand may be just what the doctor ordered.
But most Sunderland fans really will shudder inwardly upon hearing the news the big fella is in town this evening to discuss the vacant manager's position. Pearson's appointment would further divide a splintered fan base still reeling from the misery of relegation and the David Moyes era.
Pearson's public image may belie a flair for football management which could get results but that reputation is not a particularly pleasant one in truth and few will want him anywhere near the club.
The odds of Pearson taking the job have dropped sharply this afternoon and right now they're down as low as 4/1. Expect them to fall further overnight as newspapers pick up the story.
You have been warned.