Northern Ireland under-21 manager Stephen Robinson has been tipped as Luton Town’s preferred replacement for Paul Buckle.
Sources close to the club have confirmed that former captain Robinson has emerged as the Hatters’ ideal successor, loved by the fans and a respected coach in his current international role.
Luton have failed to win any of their last four Conference Premier league games, only scored in their last five and the feel-good factor after their historic fourth-round win at Norwich City in the FA Cup has been virtually forgotten.
They face Milwall in the next stage of the competition on Saturday, and Buckle is expected to still be in a job for this crucial tie.
The supporters, however, are furious with Buckle, and many have called upon chairman Nick Owen and managing director Gary Sweet to sack him now, in order to resurrect their bid for promotion to League Two.
Robinson is also currently in charge of the Northern Ireland under-19s and under-17s.
Therefore, given the level of commitment, it is doubtful IFA bosses would allow for him to manage a club in England and retain his duties here, unlike the provisions made for senior assistant and Fulham coach, Billy McKinlay.
Luton are not believed to have made a concrete approach for Robinson, and while a return to his old stomping ground of Kenilworth Road would be a meaningful one, he may find it difficult to accept an offer.
The 38-year-old recently moved back to Northern Ireland for family reasons and has said that he feels settled, with his wife and two sons.
Buckle’s position, meanwhile, remains in the balance. Luton defender Ronnie Henry apologised to supporters this week, admitting they were right to boo their side off after losing 1-0 to Dartford.
“I felt for the 700 fans at the end,” Henry said. “They deserved more than that and their boos were totally warranted.
“That game summed up why we are still down in this division. We have not been good enough.”
Robinson was signed by Joe Kinnear for £50,000 in 2002, and was forced to play on the right-wing by his Irish coach, but reverted to his preferred position in central midfield, under Mike Newell.
The Lisburn man also scored in Luton’s historic FA Cup tie against Liverpool in 2006, which ended with a brave 5-3 defeat.