Paolo di Canio is the favourite to be appointed as the new Reading manager following the sacking of Brian McDermott.
The Italian, who left Swindon last month, was in the crowd at the Madejski on Saturday when Reading lost 2-1 to Aston Villa, though it is not known if he had been invited by club owner Anton Zingarevich.
McDermott, manager of the month in January, was sacked after four straight defeats which left Reading four points adrift of safety with just nine games left.
Other candidates in the frame include Nigel Adkins, sacked by Southampton in January, former Chelsea boss Roberto di Matteo and ex-QPR manager Mark Hughes.
Dick Advocaat, the former Rangers and Holland boss currently at PSV Eindhoven, has also been linked.
Di Canio though is favourite for the job and it is thought that the Italian is interested in taking what would be his first manager's job in the Premier League.
A statement from the club on Monday afternoon read: "Owner Anton Zingarevich wishes to place on record his thanks to Brian.
"However, in our current situation, Anton Zingarevich felt that a change was necessary.
"The search for a successor will start immediately. It is hoped a new manager will be in place as soon as possible."
Whoever takes charge could hardly have a more difficult start to life at Reading - the Royals go to Manchester United on Saturday, then go to Arsenal.
Eamonn Dolan, the academy manager, has been put in temporary charge.
The Royals also confirmed that first-team coach Nigel Gibbs has left the club he joined in 2006.
McDermott paid the price for back-to-back home defeats against fellow strugglers Wigan and Aston Villa but striker Jason Roberts was quick to thank McDermott for his work at the Madejski Stadium.
"He's a football man and a good man and I just think at this moment in time we take stock of what he has achieved and place on record our thanks," he told Sky Sports News.
"I as an individual player and I'm sure the others would like to place on record their thanks for what he and his (backroom) team have achieved for us."
Fellow forward Noel Hunt took to Twitter to praise the out-going boss, saying: "Want to say thanks to Brian for everything he did for me especially. He's been a Great Manager, Man and Friend to me and will be missed!"
Who will be the next Reading manager?
Roberto Di Matteo
Paolo Di Canio