Portadown will today attempt to agree a compensation package with Ards that will allow them to appoint Niall Currie as their new manager in time for tomorrow's Danske Bank Premiership trip to Ballymena United.
Currie, who grew up as a Portadown fan and still lives and works in the town, is the man the club wants to lead their fight against relegation.
Pat McGibbon quit as boss seven weeks ago and the Ports have been thrust into a state of urgency to make an appointment after caretaker boss Vinny Arkins vacated his role.
Official talks were held between the Shamrock Park board and Currie last night after the club previously interviewed Colin Malone, David Johnstone, Paul Doolin and Roddy Collins.
Ards, however, have challenged their Premiership rivals to act with integrity and make them an offer to settle Currie's contract, which has 18 months still to run.
Ards chairman Brian Adams told the Belfast Telegraph: "I received a telephone call from Roy McMahon (Portadown chairman) to say that he was approaching me out of courtesy to seek permission to speak to Niall Currie.
"I told him that Niall has 18 months left on his contract with us and compensation would have to be paid. If an appointment is made then we will be seeking compensation."
In an official club statement Ards said: "Our club would frown upon a job offer being made without compensation for breach of contract being discussed."
It appears that a financial settlement is the only stumbling block in the way of Currie being appointed into a role that is now the most difficult job there has been in Irish League football in many years.
After starting the season on minus 12 points and with a ban on signing professional players until next summer, the Ports are still on minus one as the season hits its midway point.
They are 12 points behind Ballinamallard United and 13 adrift of Carrick Rangers at the foot of the Premiership table.
Portadown won five points under Arkins' management - that would have been eight but for three deducted when Robert Garrett played while under suspension in a 3-1 win over Ards.
The situation leaves Ards in a position of uncertainty ahead of their home Premiership game against Ballinamallard United tonight.
The club is preparing to put first-team coach John Bailie in temporary charge of the team.