Paolo Di Canio is among the favourites to take over as manager at League Two Leyton Orient after Ian Hendon was sacked.
The O's have managed just one win in their last eight league matches and were beaten 3-1 at home by Exeter on Saturday.
Hendon was appointed during the close season as a replacement for Fabio Liverani and the club were tipped for promotion back to League One at the start of the campaign.
Orient sit 11th in the table but are only two points off the play-off places.
Andy Hessenthaler is now in temporary charge at Brisbane Road and the favourite for the job.
But ex-Black Cats boss Di Canio is among the front runners to take charge.
The fiery 47-year-old Italian kept Sunderland in the Premier League in 2012-13, but was then sacked just six games into the following season.
Should Orient turn to the former AC Milan, Celtic, Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham United striker, then it would see Di Canio link up with the club's colourful president.
The club's Italian president Francesco Becchetti was recently handed a six-match stadium ban and fined £40,000 by the Football Association last week after being found guilty of violent conduct.
The 49-year-old's punishment was in relation to an incident which occurred immediately after Orient's 3-2 home win against Portsmouth on Boxing Day when television pictures showed him taking a kick at assistant boss Hessenthaler on the pitch after the final whistle.
A club statement said: "Assistant manager Andy Hessenthaler will be assuming Ian's duties on an interim basis as caretaker manager.
"Leyton Orient will make an announcement at such time as a new appointment is made."