The Independent says next Tuesday has emerged as the beginning of a 48-hour period that should define whether Shearer is asked by owner Mike Ashley to become manager of Newcastle United on a permanent basis.
Talks between the two men, and with managing director Derek Llambias, have been planned to begin then, although all three have been involved in ongoing discussions throughout Shearer's eight-game contract.
Shearer's commitment to Newcastle is not in question - and he has postponed his summer holiday - but his ability to perform the sort of transformation required at St James' Park is heavily dependent on finance. Ashley has questions to answer from Shearer on budgets even if Newcastle survive.
Should Sunday be successful only for Shearer to be told that he has to sell to buy, then it is doubtful he will stay.