Aston Villa have placed Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy on their managerial shortlist as the club step up their search for Remi Garde's replacement, the Mail Online report.
It is still mathematically possible for the Villans to avoid the drop but they currently sit 12 points from safety with only seven games remaining, so the board are beginning to prepare for life in the Championship.
McCarthy is a hugely experienced manager who has previously guided Sunderland and Wolves to automatic promotion so it is believed Villa see the Irishman as a safe pair of hands.
The 57-year-old has operated on a shoestring budget at Portman Road and he admitted he is 'flattered' by speculation linking him with a switch to Villa Park so the opportunity to splurge on quality players with the West Midlands-based outfit could be enticing.
Speaking ahead of the Tractor Boys' clash against Wolves on Saturday, McCarthy said "It's interesting isn't it? Maybe people who are not involved with the club [Ipswich] look from the outside and think 'Hmm, he's doing a good job.'
12 - Aston Villa have made more errors leading to goals in the Premier League this season than any other side (12). Slip.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 31, 2016
"Yes, it is flattering. If the remits for somebody who gets teams promoted then I've got a good CV for that haven't I? But my focus is here.
"When people mention your name for jobs, I can't do anything about it. I take it as a compliment but don't take any notice of speculaton.
"I'm enjoying being Ipswich Town manager but I don't want anyone thinking I'm sitting here resting on my laurels, thinking this is a nice cosy place to be.
"I'm ambitious, I want to be in Premier League and first and foremost I want to be there with Ipswich. But my focus is here."
Villa are also eyeing up Sean Dyche, Garry Monk and Steve Bruce for their vacant hotseat but for now the club will be focused on recording a positive result at home against Chelsea on Saturday lunchtime.