Gus Poyet took what seems certain to be his final training session on Monday morning at Sunderland's weekday headquarters, the Academy of Light.
When the workout finished the team’s outgoing manager was booked for a meeting with the club’s hierarchy, where he is expected to be told his 17-month tenure in charge on Wearside has ended.
It is understood that Sunderland's owner, Ellis Short, the chief executive, Margaret Byrne, and the sporting director, Lee Congerton, decided a managerial change was needed during talks on Sunday in the wake of Saturday's 4-0 home defeat by Aston Villa.
That reverse led to half the near-46,000 crowd vacating the stadium in protest by half-time and left Sunderland only one point above the relegation zone. With Poyet's team having won only two Premier League games at the Stadium of Light all season and relations between manager and board extremely tense, the scene is set for a separation on Monday.
The Uruguayan has vowed not to resign so it seems Short will have to sack him. Congerton, meanwhile, is believed to have begun the task of finding a short-term successor who will coach the team until the end of the season when a longer-term replacement will be sought.
With the international break following Saturday’s trip to West Ham United the idea is that Poyet’s successor will have time to work with his players before a vital run-in, starting with a derby against Newcastle United at the Stadium of Light on 5 April.