Mel Morris, the Derby County chairman, is set to axe chief executive Sam Rush as part of a ruthless inquest into the club’s season.
Rush has been told to stay away for the next two weeks and Morris could bring his four-year tenure to an end as part of an extensive review, after Derby again missed out on promotion to the Premier League.
Derby are preparing for another season in the Championship under new manager Gary Rowett and Rush is expected to take the hit after a turbulent period in which Morris has dismissed Steve McClaren and Paul Clement while Nigel Pearson departed by mutual consent after an alleged confrontation with the owner at the training ground.
Rush, who is also the Derby president and is understood to own shares in the club, was not at Saturday’s game against Wolverhampton Wanderers – a game they won 3-1 with goals from David Nugent, Bradley Johnson and Craig Bryson – and his usual column in the programme was not included.
It is believed that he will spend another fortnight away from Pride Park on leave and will be informed of his fate when he returns.
The former head of football operations at Wasserman Media Group, Rush was given a five-year contract in October 2015 and highlighted as a key figure by Morris when he completed his takeover the same year.
But Morris is unhappy with the club’s failure to reach the Premier League, despite a substantial spend on players, and the Derby-based businessman is preparing to make another surprise dismissal.
The shake-up comes at a time when Derby appear to be heading towards a brighter future under Rowett, who was a popular appointment in March after the sacking of McClaren.
Rowett has guided Derby to four wins and two draws from eight games but the litany of disappointing campaigns before his arrival seem certain to claim another victim.