The Western Force coach John Mitchell could cut short his time at the Perth-based franchise to lead South Africa's Lions next Super 15 season.
Mitchell is currently in South Africa coaching the Lions in their Currie Cup campaign but has previously insisted he would return to Perth to see out the final year of his contract with the Force.
Richard Graham is locked in to take over at the Force in 2012 but he may be thrust into the head role a year early, with Lions president Kevin de Klerk openly admitting his bid to secure Mitchell in time for next season.
De Klerk says they're negotiating with Mitchell to remain at the Lions, but it depends on whether there is a way out of his contract and if the Western Force will release him.
The former All Blacks five-eighth Carlos Spencer, who is now the Lions' backline coach and a bit-time player there, says they must hang on to Mitchell.
Spencer says there is definitely a lot of appreciation for what he has done for the team and there has been a lot of progress.