Tony Pulis was believed to be the early-front runner for the role at Pride Park following Nigel Clough's sacking after Saturday's defeat to arch-rivals Nottingham Forest.
But McClaren is set to return to management with Derby, the club where he made his name as a coach in the mid-1990s.
Sky sources understand that ex-Manchester United goalkeeper Eric Steele and former Preston manager Paul Simpson have arrived for talks about becoming part of McClaren's backroom staff.
McClaren, who played for the Rams in the 1980s, was assistant to manager Jim Smith when Derby were promoted to the Premier League. He left County in 1999 to become assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
Speaking outside Pride Park, McClaren told Sky Sports News: "I'm just going in to have a quick chat with them.
"Great coming back. It's good to be back and hopefully things will work out."
The former England boss is currently working as part of QPR's coaching staff but R's manager Harry Redknapp admitted he looks set to lose him.
"He's made no secret of the fact he wants to get back into management and we won't be standing in his way if somebody does come in for him," he said.
"We had an agreement that he could leave if a club showed interest and I think there is a good chance we could lose him."
QPR midfielder Joey Barton echoed Redknapp's praise and believes McClaren would be well suited to the vacant role.
"He would be a massive loss for any club," said Barton. "I've really enjoyed my time working with him. I mean from a selfish perspective I sort of hope that he doesn't get the job and stays with us, because he's been brilliant.
"I've always thought he's been one of the best English coaches out there and he gets an unfair media because of his England tenure.
"I think he would be a great benefit for any club. He's certainly a very good coach, very organised, puts on great sessions. He's a great fellow and the perfect sort of guy for that job."
Clough, who was the longest-serving manager in the Championship, was relieved of his duties following a 1-0 defeat at the City Ground.
Darren Wassall has been placed in temporary charge of first-team affairs after four of Nigel Clough's coaching staff were placed on gardening leave.
The Derby board has told Andy Garner, Gary Crosby, Johnny Metgod and Martin Taylor to stay away from the club.
Clough's brother Simon, who was appointed chief scout at the beginning of 2011, has also been placed on gardening leave.
And academy boss Wassall - a former County player who was a team-mate of Clough at Forest - will lead the team into Tuesday's home game against Ipswich.