Mackay stands firm as sack looms

Malky Mackay looks set to take charge of Cardiff for the last time at Liverpool on Saturday despite chairman Mehmet Dalman's efforts to earn the Scot a reprieve.

Mackay received an ultimatum via email from owner Vincent Tan on Monday, telling the 41-year-old to quit his post, or face being sacked. Details of the message first emerged on Thursday night.

Mackay did not attend Friday's pre-match media conference ahead of the trip to Anfield, with assistant David Kerslake taking his place.

But the former Watford boss has travelled to Liverpool with his squad for what appears almost certain to be his last game in charge.

Discussions between club directors had taken place throughout Friday, with Tan flying into the UK from Malaysia on Friday evening.

Press Association Sport understands Dalman met with Tan in London on Friday night to discuss the situation.

Mackay regards Dalman as a close ally having helped him through the loss of head of recruitment Iain Moody in October.

But it is believed relations between Tan and Mackay have deteriorated to such an extent that there is little chance of the Bluebirds' boss escaping the axe, despite Dalman's attempt to intervene.

Mackay had been due to face the media on Friday morning ahead of the game at Anfield, but instead it was his assistant Kerslake who spoke at a press conference which lasted barely five minutes.

Kerslake refused to discuss Mackay's situation.

He said: ''I am here to talk about the Liverpool match, I came in this morning and was asked to do the press conference.

''Malky is in the training pavilion as we speak, we are just here to talk about the game.''

When asked if Mackay was still in charge, Kerslake added: ''No one has said any different to me, everything has been as normal. Players have got on with their jobs.

''Without being boring it has been a normal week.''

When Kerslake came in for more aggressive questioning on Mackay's position a club spokesman stepped in to say: ''Malky Mackay is unavailable to speak to the media, the assistant manager is here.''

He later added: ''Malky Mackay is still in charge, I have spoken to Malky this morning.''

When faced with further queries on Mackay, Kerslake consistently replied: ''I will answer any questions you have about the game of football tomorrow.''

Tan's email to Mackay had outlined his grievances with the former Watford boss at great length.

The owner was highly critical of Mackay's signings, style of play, results and record as a manager.

It concluded with the ultimatum that the Scot quit or be given the boot by the controversial Malaysian businessman.

Mackay, who led Cardiff to the 2012 League Cup final before securing the Championship title last term, has previously stated he would not resign from his position, and it is believed it could cost Tan somewhere in the region of £3million to sack him with his contract running until 2016.

Mackay's position as Bluebirds boss has been under scrutiny since Tan removed Moody in October amid suggestions of a summer transfer window overspend, something the Scot and Moody denied outright.

The problems at the club deepened on Monday, the same day as Tan's email was sent, when chief executive Simon Lim released a statement claiming Tan was ''extremely upset'' at Mackay's comments that he hoped to bring in three players in January, and that there would not be ''a single penny'' available to spend next month.

The latest row with Tan has also seen odds on the Scot becoming the next West Brom manager slashed.

Former Manchester United striker and current Molde boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and ex-England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson have already been tipped as possible replacements for Mackay.

Turkish manager Yilmaz Vural has also emerged as a contender; just a matter of weeks ago Cardiff chairman Dalman had denied knowing who the 60-year-old, who has managed over 20 clubs in his homeland, even was.

Dave Jones, Bluebirds boss between 2005 and 2011, had also been mentioned, but a return to the Welsh capital for the former Sheffield Wednesday manager is thought to be unlikely.

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