Scottish Premier League club Hearts have confirmed that they have relieved manager Jim Jefferies from his coaching post, but had offered him a position as director of football.
Earlier reports had said that both Jefferies and his assistant Billy Brown had been sacked, but it is believed that the latter's position is under review as the club seeks to bring in a manager with 'European experience'.
Jefferies successor will be the ninth manager in the turbulent seven year reign of owner Vladimir Romanov. "Jim Jefferies has been removed as manager and has been offered a director of football role, which he is currently considering," a Hearts spokesman said.
Hearts are currently on a run of 11 games without a win, having picked up their last victory on 19 March against St Mirren, and lost 1-0 at home to Dundee United on Sunday.
Jefferies had returned to Hearts in 2010 after previously managing the club from 1995 to 2000 before leaving to take charge at English team Bradford City. Hearts' first-team coach Gary Locke has reportedly been asked to take over on an interim basis while Romanov appoints a new manager.
Leaving the ground following a players' meeting, Hearts midfielder Ryan Stevenson told a Sky Sports News: "We have to wait until tomorrow. I don't want to say anything."
Asked how much of a blow it would be if Jefferies and Brown left, he replied: "It would obviously be a blow, but we will need to just wait and see what happens."
Former Hearts defender Alan McLaren criticised Romanov for removing Jefferies after just two matches of the new Scottish Premier League season. "I don't think we can be surprised because it happens so often," McLaren said to Sky Sports.
"But dismissing the manager and assistant manager three hours into a new season tops anything he [Romanov] has done in the past, I think. They had a good result away to the champions Rangers in the first game (1-1), then a disappointing result on Sunday but there were lots of chances.
"He has backed the manager with transfer targets in the summer then removes him after three hours. It is nonsense."