Notts County will tell the High Court on Wednesday they need more time to settle their tax debts because their proposed takeover by a South African group has been hit by ill health.
The Magpies were relegated to the National League last month and now may have to opt for administration to gain protection from HM Revenue and Customs' attempt to shut them down.
That would mean they would start life in the fifth tier on minus 12 points, greatly reducing their chances of a quick return to League Two.
Owner Alan Hardy put the club up for sale earlier this year, having lost millions of pounds since saving them from administration in 2016.
Having seen his own office design company Paragon go bust, Hardy is desperate to recoup some of his losses at Meadow Lane and Press Association Sport understands he has agreed a price tag for County of £6million.
He has been talking to two potential buyers for several months, with a South African group fronted by Terry Pritchard of Charter House Corporate Partners understood to be the favourite.
In fact, it had been hoped that County would have been able to tell the High Court this week that a deal has been done with Pritchard and the club's £800,000 tax bill could be settled soon.
Unfortunately, Pritchard is now seriously ill, plunging the South African takeover into doubt.
That might open the door for London property developer Alex May to step in but it is understood that his plans are not as far advanced as Pritchard's, which include a proposal for the construction of a hotel at the ground.
Hardy has confirmed to Press Association Sport that the club's barrister will ask the court for at least two more weeks to conclude the takeover but County's troubles are beginning to worry the National League.
It is highly likely that whoever is in charge of the club, which was founded in 1862, will be asked to provide a guarantee that it can fund the club next season.