Hopes of reunion between Essendon great James Hird and the Bombers through their senior coaching position look to be fleeting, with Melbourne assistant Adem Yze now seen as the favourite for the vacancy.
Both Hird and Yze have been among several names heavily tied to the position in recent weeks, with the race to replace Ben Rutten narrowing as the search nears its conclusion.
It has been revealed that Essendon are hopeful of having their next senior coach confirmed by as early as next week, with interviews still ongoing.
According to multiple reports, Yze has shot into favouritism for the position, having held a second round of discussions with the Bombers at their headquarters in Tullamarine.
Newly-appointed president David Barham was among the key figures at the club on Wednesday when Yze's near three-hour long meeting at Essendon took place.
A News Corp report suggests Melbourne have already begun their hunt for a new midfield coach to take Yze's place in the outcome he is handed the Bombers gig.
Hird has not been contacted for a second round of interviews as of yet, while AFL football boss Brad Scott is set to make a call on whether to go into the process for the job after this weekend's grand final.
A decision from Essendon is tipped to come by the end of next week, leaving Scott little time to prepare and present to the Bombers.
During Thursday's National Championships final between Vic Country and Vic Metro, Yze was spotted holding a lengthy discussion with Essendon list boss Adrian Dodoro, according to CODE Sports' Daniel Cherny.
While Yze is understood to have been watching the game alone for a large portion of the match, the Demons assistant and Dodoro gained the attention of other club recruiters and coaches.
In a surprising development, Bombers assistant Blake Caracella will "throw his hat into the senior coaching ring" when he returns from an overseas trip in what looms as a late bid for the top job.
"Blake Caracella, the Essendon assistant coach, who has been a part of the review, is in Europe," Footy Classified's Caroline Wilson revealed this week.
"He's getting back in the next 24 hours and my understanding is he has decided that upon his return he is likely to throw his hat into the senior coaching ring.
"I'm not sure if Blake Caracella will be seriously considered for the job, I'm not sure how he's come out of the review that's been going on, I know he's been interviewed twice ... but it'll be interesting to see if they don't want him to present."
Clarkson's tenure hangs in the balance before it has even started, with harrowing allegations of racism from his time with the Hawks emerging this week.
An independent process into the allegations is set to get underway, with both under-fire coaches stepping away from their respective duties to assist the investigation.