The manner of Bryan Redpath's Gloucester exit would not be in the "spirit of the sport" if the rumours that he is joining Sale are true, says Stuart Barnes.
Redpath resigned as head coach on Tuesday after three years at the club saying he did so with "a heavy heart" and that his decision was results-based.
But the 40-year-old - who guided Gloucester to the LV= Cup and third in the Premiership last season before they lost narrowly to the eventual champions Saracens - was almost immediately linked with a move to Saturday's opponents Sale.
Barnes told The Rugby Club that if the speculation turns out to be well-founded, it would leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
"I can't believe that Bryan would be going off the back of four straight defeats when you have two games left that will decide whether your team - one of England's largest - is in the Heineken Cup or not," he reflected.
"I'd like to think that the rumours that linked Redpath to Sale weren't some sort of Machiavellian master-plan. If they were it was marvellously done but it wouldn't be in the spirit of sport.
"If he does end up at Sale, I'll think back to being there on Saturday and the discontent from Gloucester supporters and the feeling from the committee members I met and there will be something slightly bitter in the taste of this 'run-in' between Gloucester and Sale, shall we say."
Forwards coach Carl Hogg will take over from Redpath for the last two games of the regular Premiership season, starting with Saturday's battle for sixth against Sale.
The match comes after Gloucester were turned over at home by Newcastle last Saturday - the Falcons' 20-29 victory being their first on the road for over a year.
Expert Dewi Morris told The Rugby Club that the Cherry and Whites must up their game several notches if they don't want to be "drummed out of town".
"Gloucester have got to front up," said Morris. "They weren't really at the races against Newcastle - there was an apathy about them. It's not good enough in front of the Shed.
"There is a big prize there - there is also for Sale - but you're getting into Europe. It's amazing that Steve Diamond one week has a Director of Rugby all sorted and this week he doesn't.
"I just don't know why people can't do business in a nice way; it amazes me that Bryan is not staying on until the end of the season and then going wherever he is going.
"We believe it is to Sale - that is conjecture - but this is a massive game. If the Gloucester team do not respond in this one I think they'll be drummed out of town."