NIGEL Pearson may have to quit as manager of Hull City if permission to join Championship rivals Leicester City is not granted in the next 48 hours.
The Tigers are demanding over £1m in compensation for Pearson who has been identified by Leicester’s Thai owners as the man to lead their club back to the Premier League.
But the two clubs had still to agree on a settlement figure last night leaving resignation as the only other option available if he does not want to miss out on the job.
Pearson, who took over at the KC Stadium 17 months ago, steered Leicester to the League One title and Championship play-offs before quitting in summer 2010.
He has now been offered a £1m-a-year deal to return for a second spell in the East Midlands with another £8m to spend on new players in the New Year transfer window.
Tigers owner Assem Ellam will only allow Pearson – who still has 19 months left on his contract – to leave on his terms.
It is understood that Leicester have been attempting to exploit a £700,000 get-out clause in the contract but the Tigers also wanted another £500,000.
Pearson’s assistants Craig Shakespeare and Steve Walsh would also be wanted at Leicester – leaving Hull in a seach for a whole new management team.
Former Hull captain and player-manager Warren Joyce, currently the reserve team manager at Manchester United, is high on the list of possible replacements along with MK Dons’ Karl Robinson, and former Barnsley manager Mark Robins, who has been out of work since he left Oakwell.
Huddersfield Town’s Lee Clark will be another target but is unlikely to be interested after rejecting Leicester last week.
Former England international Nick Barmby, who is still playing for the Tigers at 37, will also be in the frame. Barmby and development coach Stuart Watkiss have been in charge of training sessions this week while speculation surrounding Pearson’s future has intensified.
With no Championship games this weekend due to the international break, there has been less pressure to resolve the issue this week. But neither club will want things dragging on for another week and it may be up to Pearson to cut the ties.
Commenting on Pearson’s future yesterday, former Hull striker Dean Windass said: “I think he is definitely gone and I heard it will be done in the next 24 hours. There is no surprise that the new owners at Leicester want him back but I am a little bit surprised he is going because they have got that consistency and stability at Hull now.”