Walsall are looking for a new permanent manager after parting company with Dean Keates.
The 40-year-old lost his job with the Saddlers following a disappointing 3-1 defeat against an Oxford United team which played half of the match with 10 men. It was a result which left the Saddlers in grave danger of relegation from League One, with them sitting second from bottom and two points from safety with five matches left to play.
It had been a difficult few weeks for Keates and Walsall, who have now lost their last five matches in a row and 12 of their 16 league fixtures in 2019. That form, combined with the fact that they have managed just four wins since October is ultimately what has cost the manager his job.
In a club statement on their official website, the Saddlers said: "The club would like to place on record its thanks to Dean for all his hard work and dedication during his time with the Saddlers and wish him well for the future."
Martin O'Connor has been placed in temporary charge until the end of the season, with the hope that he can get enough out of the players to keep them up. They will then assess the situation in the summer and appoint a permanent successor to Keates.
But who will that be? We have taken a look at the bookmakers odds to see who the runners and riders are for the Walsall managers job.
Chris Powell favourite to become Walsall manager
The favourite to take the reigns at the Saddlers is a man who hasn't been out of work for that long in Chris Powell. The 49-year-old was most recently in charge of Walsall's League One rivals Southend United, but was dismissed after a string of poor results in early 2019 saw them drop from mid-table and into relegation trouble.
Powell is though an experienced manager in the Football League and more often than not has done a decent job with the clubs he has been in charge of. His biggest success came when he managed Charlton Athletic, guiding them to the League One title in 2012 before backing it up with a ninth place finish in the Championship the following season.
He has also managed Huddersfield Town in the Championship where he was less successful, whilst also taking caretaker charge at both Leicester City and Derby County.
Sky Bet are currently offering odds of 7/2 for the former defender to take charge of Walsall's first match of the 2019/20 season.
Other managers in contention according to odds
Two managers come after Powell in the betting market with the same odds, the first of which is the man currently in charge and calling the shots in Martin O'Connor. The 51-year-old was previously a first team coach under Keates, but has been given the job on a temporary basis for the last five fixtures of the campaign.
He has one objective which is to keep Walsall in League One, and if he manages to do that then he could well come into the clubs thinking as a long-term appointment. He is currently priced at 4/1 with Sky Bet to be in charge next season.
The other manager at 4/1 in the betting is Paul Hurst. The former Shrewsbury and Ipswich Town manager has been linked with several jobs recently including the vacant post at Yeovil Town, but he still remains available for hire. Hurst did an outstanding job at Shrewsbury, guiding them to the brink of promotion to the Championship last season before ultimately losing to Rotherham United on penalties in the play-off final.
He also managed to get Grimsby Town promoted from the National League and although it didn't work out for him with Ipswich, he remains a well respected manager in the lower divisions. Whether the Saddlers can attract him to the Banks's Stadium is the big question, as he is likely to be in line for several League One jobs in the summer.
Full next Walsall manager odds:
(To be manager on first league game 2019/20 season)
- Chris Powell - 7/2
- Martin O'Connor - 4/1
- Paul Hurst - 4/1
- Darrell Clarke - 8/1
- Keith Downing - 10/1
- Kevin Nolan - 10/1
- Zigor Aranalde - 12/1
- Adrian Viveash - 14/1
- Darren Moore- 14/1
- Tim Flowers - 14/1