Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay has been told to resign or he will be sacked by club owner Vincent Tan, Sky Sports understands.
Tensions have been running high between the pair after Tan publicly criticised Mackay for saying he was hoping to sign three new players in the January transfer window, with the chairman accusing his manager of unfairly raising the expectations of the club's supporters.
Mackay was absent from the club's Friday press conference ahead of the weekend's game with Liverpool after it emerged that Tan had emailed the Scot on Monday, outlining his grievances at length and issuing an ultimatum regarding his job.
Malaysian businessman Tan was allegedly critical of Mackay's signings, style of play, results and overall performance as a manager.
He is also believed to be unhappy at an overspend on players during the summer, with £15m more being spent than the originally slated budget of £35m.
In Mackay's absence, assistant boss David Kerslake told reporters at the conference that the manager was still in charge, adding: "No one has said any different to me, everything has been as normal. Players have got on with their jobs.
"Without being boring it has been a normal week."
When Kerslake came in for sterner questioning on Mackay's position a club spokesman stepped in to say: "Malky Mackay is unavailable to speak to the media, the assistant manager is here."
The 41-year-old Mackay's future has been under scrutiny since Tan removed his head of recruitment Iain Moody in October amid suggestions of a summer transfer window overspend, an accusation denied by the coaching duo.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, whose team play Cardiff at Anfield on Saturday, defended Mackay on Thursday morning and criticised Tan for his attitude towards the coach.
Mackay took Cardiff into the top flight at the end of last season for the first time since 1962.
They are currently 15th in the Premier League table, four points clear of the relegation zone.
Former Swansea manager Rodgers said: "I find it incredible all the talk about Malky, who I know well from working with him at Watford.
"I find it astonishing what he has had to go through.
"This is a guy who walked into Cardiff after they had lost in the play-off semi- finals and they waited two weeks to sack the manager Dave Jones on the day we (Swansea) were in the final - which I found strange.
"Malky walked into the club with 10 players that summer and he totally transformed the mentality of the club.
"He took them to the Carling Cup final, to a play-off place and just lost out and the following season took them to the championship and promotion.
"He has had great results this season and is going to go on and be a great manager at a big club and I find it absolutely astonishing there is talk about him leaving there."
Rodgers added: "I worked with Iain Moody at Watford, one of the most authentic people you could ever meet.
"My only conclusion is you have a business guy operating the club who knows absolutely nothing about football."
Mackay insisted earlier this week that he would not walk away following a fresh rebuke from Tan, who said he would not receive 'a single penny' of transfer funds in January.
Mackay said: "I will not resign from my post. I was surprised obviously, but at the same time my job doesn't change.
"It would be wrong of me to walk away from a job because the owner doesn't want to give me more money in January."