KIERAN McKENNA may be in the middle of a managerial tug-of-war, with Brighton and Crystal Palace lining him up.
The Ipswich boss, 37, is trying to make the Prem with the Tractor Boys but may get a ticket to the top on his own in the coming months.
McKenna has impressed as a No 1 after his success in a coaching role at Manchester United.
Seagulls have him on an emergency list if Roberto De Zerbi is tempted away, and are known for spotting hot managerial prospects.
McKenna’s attacking style would suit Albion, who know their highly-rated Italian gaffer is admired by bigger clubs at home and abroad.
Palace are also keen on McKenna as they seek a long-term successor for Roy Hodgson, 76.
Their ideal timetable would be to make a summer swoop. The Eagles are still behind Hodgson and it would be difficult to recruit McKenna now when he is in a promotion race.
Palace have also been linked with free agent Steve Cooper, 44, but McKenna would come without a sacking on his CV.
Cooper has been on the Eagles’ radar for a while but there is not universal support for the ex-Nottingham Forest coach and Palace are still looking around for the best option at the end of the season.
Ipswich have a compensation clause in McKenna’s deal of about £4million, which would not put off either of the Premier League pair if they come for him.
The Tractor Boys currently sit second in the Championship table, eight points behind leaders Leicester.
They are on track to earn promotion to the Premier League at the end of the season.