The gloom enveloping Fulham's season darkened yet further on Monday night with Jean Tigana's team plummeting to their heaviest defeat for 16 months as the Frenchman's reign entered its death throes with a 4-0 reverse at home to Blackburn.
Tigana now has just six games left as boss and Gianluca Vialli, the bookmakers' favourite to become his successor, was in the Loftus Road directors'box to witness this humiliation at the hands of UEFA Cup hopefuls Blackburn.
The former Chelsea and Watford manager's agent Athole Still has already confirmed his interest in the vacancy.
But Fulham chief executive Bruce Langham, the man leading the club's recruitment drive, claimed he was not even aware of Vialli's presence just a few seats away from him.
He said: "I didn't even know he was here tonight".
Tigana himself broke his silence on his axing, writing in the match programme:"I'm sad I won't be at Fulham next season.
It's a difficult situation but one I have to accept."
On the field, Tigana's team were torn apart in chilly west London and loiter just seven points above the relegation zone ahead of a daunting run-in featuring games against Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds, Chelsea, Everton and Charlton.
Lee Clark, on his comeback after four months out with a torn calf, gave away a penalty for the 36th-minute opener when he somehow managed to handle David Dun"s flick-on twice.
Dunn scored from the spot.
Hakan Sukur hit his first Rovers goal with a cool finish three minutes before the break.
Damien Duff rifled home five minutes after the interval and, just 60 seconds later, Sukur completed his brace with another polished effort.
Fulham's players could perhaps be forgiven for lacking a little focus given the bizarre situation of their manager effectively being sacked but being asked to remain until his contract expires on June 30.
Steve Finnan had returned at right-back for the home side after a month out with a fractured rib, while Rovers' Lucas Neill was back after a two-game ban.
Vialli was sitting alongside his close friend Ray Wilkins and enjoying an animated chat with England assistant coach Tord Grip as the game kicked off.
Louis Saha had a pot shot as the 20-minute mark passed but he was again off target from distance. Steed Malbranque, so often Fulham's most dangerous player, went close on the half hour.
Steve Marlet expertly squared to him 20 yards out and his swerving first-timestrike was parried by the diving Brad Friedel.
Malbranque turned Craig Short inside-out with a jinking run two minutes laterbut he could not get his left boot round the ball enough to keep his shot ontarget. But Rovers upped their game and went into the lead with 36 minutes on theclock.
Andy Cole snapped up a loose ball and fired goalwards, only for Martin Djetouto make a sensational goal-line block, deflecting Cole's effort onto his bar.
But Fulham failed to complete their clearance and Garry Flitcroft hooked across back into the danger zone, where Clark was distracted by Dunn's flick-onand handled twice.
Referee Graham Poll pointed to the penalty spot and Dunn sent Maik Taylor thewrong way to put Graeme Souness' side 1-0 up.
And the Lancastrians doubled their lead six minutes later when Sukur latchedonto Neill's far post cross, side-stepped Finnan's challenge and coolly slottedhome from six yards.
Fulham centre-back Zat Knight prevented Sukur adding a second five minutesafter the interval when he blocked the Turk's eight-yard shot.
But Rovers' third goal arrived two minutes later anyway when Cole latched ontoa long punt up field and cleverly held off Finnan to square for Duff.
He raced goalwards and smacked the ball under Taylor from 10 yards.
Fulham were in tatters at the back and three became four just 60 seconds laterwhen Cole prodded the ball through to Sukur - who rounded Finnan yet again - and showed nerves of steel to side-foot into the bottom corner. Malbranque tried to restore a little pride with a determined run and shot but Friedel saved comfortably.
Djetou produced a stinging shot as the game entered its final minutes butFriedel watched it all the way and held on. Malbranque was uncharacteristically wasteful when he met Sylvain Legwinski'scross with three minutes left.
The Frenchman fired into row Z.