Derby have confirmed caretaker manager Chris Hutchings will be considered for the job on a permanent basis if he can revive the Rams' fortunes in the next fortnight.
Chairman of football Adam Pearson has handed Hutchings the responsibility for the first team following the resignation of Paul Jewell.
"We are looking for Chris to buy us some time but if he gets some good performances and results he will put himself in the frame," said Pearson. "Chris is a very positive coach, the players have got immense respect for him and he has got an opportunity now."
He added: "We have got a very good group of players, I still believe that, and it is up to Chris to get that bit extra out of them that we have not been getting recently."
Hutchings will lead the team into Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie at Forest Green and the home leg of the Carling Cup semi-final against Manchester United on January 7.
He has prior experience of being a manager, but he has had little success in the role.
When Jewell left both Bradford and Wigan, regular sidekick Hutchings was the man who succeeded him, yet on each occasion he was sacked after a short run of games.
The 51-year-old would hope to make it third time lucky, and should Derby safely get past Forest Green and then give a strong performance against United in the Carling Cup Hutchings could jump to the front of the queue for the job.
Whoever does take on the challenge is likely to have to focus on working with the players already at Derby, rather than counting on being able to bring in a host of new faces in the winter transfer window.
"We believe we have a capable squad of players here. I think we have got enough good players and I think enough players have been brought in over the last year," he added. "The turnaround of players has been high and I would like to recruit someone who understands that and who wants to get the best out of the players that are already here."
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