Everton manager David Moyes has delayed a decision on his future until the end of the season after indicating it will be determined by European qualification.
Moyes, believed to be a summer target for Chelsea, is prepared to leave it to within two months of the end of his contract before informing his board of his intentions.
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright is relaxed about the situation, and ready to give Moyes all the time he needs to assess where his career will go next.
But there is also an anticipation that if Moyes was sounded out by a club such as Chelsea he would make his intentions clear to Everton's hierarchy before May to ensure the club can make contingency plans.
At this stage, there is nothing to indicate that Moyes' stance is any more than an acknowledgement of the crossroads both he and Everton will find themselves at in the summer.
He is adamant he will be straight with his chairman and is in constant dialogue with him, but believes contract talks would be a distraction in the final few months of the campaign.
The Scot has often spoken of his desire to work in an environment where he can regularly challenge for trophies and qualify for Europe. He knows both these aims are still achievable at Goodison this season, but if his ambitions are not fulfilled it is inevitable he will consider other possibilities before committing to another long-term deal.
"I've had a chat with Bill but my main reason is I want to see how the team do," said Moyes, whose side take on Oldham in the FA Cup fifth round today.
"I want to see if we've got a realistic chance of getting in Europe, or if we can get to a cup final. I want to see how well we progress and what we do. I think that's fair for the club as well. I'm straight with Bill and I tell him my thoughts.
"I want it to be purely football now until the end of the season. I don't want anything to get in the way and I would hate to think anything to do with me would. So because of that I am saying I will be looking at it in the summer.
"One thing is I want to try and get Everton back in a European competition.
"If I can get into a final as well, great, but I don't really think I need anything else at the moment to get in the way of that."
There is certainly no desire at Goodison for the club to be forced into a search for a new manager at the end of May or early June. If Moyes offered any hint he was considering moving on, Everton would want to assess potential replacements early.
Chelsea are known to be admirers of Moyes, although if the agent of Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini is to be believed, Roman Abramovich already has his eye elsewhere.
Jesus Martinez said: "Chelsea and other clubs have asked, but nothing else official has been said. Manuel would love to manage in the Premier League."
Chelsea, for their part, tackle Brentford tomorrow in a fourth-round replay, with John Terry insisting he is ready to play despite manager Rafael Benitez raising doubts over his fitness following a recurring knee injury.
The Chelsea club captain travelled to Prague for the Europa League tie on Thursday but did not come off the bench.
Both club and player reject suggestions of friction. It is understood that, having missed Saturday's defeat of Wigan with an inflammation of the knee he injured on November 17, Terry was passed fit for the Sparta Prague game only on Tuesday and trained just twice before the match.
However, Terry now feels fit to play tomorrow and is hopeful of a starting place.
Meanwhile, Frank Lampard has confirmed he has had no fresh contract offer despite the outstanding recent form that has left the club's fans urging Abramovich to offer him a new deal.
Asked whether there had been a change in his personal circumstances with the club, he said: "No." (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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