Newcastle expect to complete the process of identifying candidates for their head coach vacancy within the next 48 hours – with Glenn Hoddle emerging as one of their potential targets.
Derby's Steve McClaren is the 100/30 favourite with Sky Bet to replace Alan Pardew at St James' Park but former England and Tottenham manager Hoddle, who has been part-time first team coach at QPR since last summer, is listed at 8/1.
Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley and chief scout Graham Carr are understood to be drawing up a list of at least six potential candidates to provide the basis for discussions early next week.
Sky sources say no one has yet been approached and no offers have been made. A decision has yet to be made on whether to appoint someone short-term with a view to someone else coming in this summer.
However, it is understood that among the names which will be considered at this early stage are former England managers McClaren and Hoddle, as well as St Etienne's Christophe Galtier, former Mainz boss Thomas Tuchel and Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.
Sky Bet has another former Tottenham manager, Tim Sherwood, as 7/2 joint second favourite, alongside former Arsenal midfielder and ex-Lyon manager Remi Garde, with Pardew's assistant John Carver at 7/1, ahead of Hoddle and Howe.
Galtier (28/1) has already indicated that he will not walk out on his current employers this season, while Tuchel (16/1) is currently taking a sabbatical and McClaren, who signed a new three-year deal last summer, has distanced himself from the vacancy. Derby insist they will not let McClaren leave.
Carver was criticised by some fans for fielding a weakened side for Saturday's 1-0 FA Cup third-round defeat by Leicester, although he later insisted it was as a result of injuries and fatigue. He and first team coach Steve Stone are likely to remain in charge for next weekend's Premier League trip to Chelsea.
The Magpies currently sit in 10th place in the table, with 27 points from their opening 20 fixtures, and the top-10 finish Ashley set as the minimum requirement for the season is now their only remaining objective.