FORMER Sporting Lisbon manager Carlos Carvalhal has emerged as a surprise early frontrunner for the vacant head coach post at Sheffield Wednesday following the sacking of Stuart Gray on Thursday night.
The Owls are seeking their 12th managerial appointment since March 2000.
Chairman Dejphon Chansiri is anxious that the club take a “new direction” as he seeks to return the club to the Premier League in time for their 150th anniversary in 2017.
The Portuguese, 49, has coached extensively in his homeland over the past two decades, and also served as an interim manager at Turkish side Besiktas.
Other names in the frame include former West Ham manager Sam Allardyce and ex-Watford boss Slavisa Jokanovic, the latter having recently left Vicarage Road after taking the Hornets into the Premier League.
Successful moves for either to Hillsborough would appear unlikely, with Allardyce expected to take a break from management, while the cost of a package to bring him to Hillsborough would also be hefty.
Financial terms are also likely to rule out Jokanovic from the Owls’ equation.
Jokanovic, 46, had been offered significantly improved terms of around a £1m basic salary, plus another £1m in performance-based payments, to stay at Watford.
However, Jokanovic was seeking some £2.5m in wages alone, which would not only have broken the pay structure of the Vicarage Road club, but also pushed Watford out of line with the basic earnings of other more experienced managers in the top flight.
Other names in the frame include former Owls favourites John Sheridan and Benito Carbone and ex-Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert.
Carbone has revealed on several occasions that he would jump at the chance of becoming manager at Hillsborough, where he was revered as a player.
Sheridan was also held in high esteem after seven years with the Owls - achieving hero status after scoring the 1991 League Cup final winner over Manchester United and helping them to a third-place finish in the Premier League.
The 50-year-old is available after recently quitting Plymouth Argyle having taken the Pilgrims to the League Two play-off semi-finals.
Sheridan cited a desire to return to the north of England for family reasons, with a potential move to Hillsborough likely to hold considerable appeal.
Meanwhile, Wednesday have confirmed that John Deehan has also left the club following the departure of Gray.
The 57-year-old worked with Gray at Aston Villa where they were joint caretaker managers in 2002 between the reigns of John Gregory and Graham Taylor.