Derby County have excused Frank Lampard from duty for Monday and Tuesday ahead of an assumed agreement with Chelsea over their vacant managerial position.
Lampard has long been considered the frontrunner to replace Maurizio Sarri in the Stamford Bridge dugout, following the Italian's return to Italy with Juventus, and now Derby have seemingly resigned themselves to losing the 41-year-old manager.
According to BBC Sport journalist Simon Stone, the Rams have excused Lampard from duty for Monday and Tuesday this week in order for the ex-Chelsea player to complete the negotiations with his former club, with the Championship side themselves admitting that the 'assumption is Lampard will reach an agreement with Chelsea'.
In a tweet, Stone wrote: "Frank Lampard ‘excused’ duty @dcfcofficial today + tomorrow. Derby say ‘assumption is Lampard will reach an agreement with @ChelseaFC’ so they are stepping up managerial recruitment efforts."
Rams owner Mel Morris recently revealed that 12 'good names' had reached out to put their hat in the ring to replace Lampard, with former West Bromwich Albion boss Darren Moore the current favourite.
Morris gave the Blues permission to negotiate with his incumbent boss last week, with the former midfielder expected to garner a three-year contract worth £4m-a-year at the Bridge, and Derby attaining the same fee on a one-time basis as compensation.
However, new Chelsea technical and performance adviser Petr Cech was a bit more coy with his reading of the Lampard situation, telling the Times: “The club has identified some of the coaches they are dealing with. The situation is open, Frank is one of the candidates. I could speak about all the candidates with the leadership, they know my ideas."
But, the recently retired goalkeeper did set a deadline for these changes, with the new boss ideally named before this coming Friday, when the squad returns for training, as he declared: "By the time the first team will start the preparation we would like to solve the coach’s question.”