Aberdeen have confirmed that they have granted Derek McInnes and assistant Tony Docherty permission to speak to Sunderland about the vacant managerial position.
Martin Bain will now speak to McInnes to discuss personal terms and to try and convince the 45-year-old to make the switch to Wearside.
The club statement read:
"The club can confirm that early this afternoon Sunderland FC agreed to meet all the contractual obligations for both Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty and they have reluctantly been granted permission to speak with both of them about the vacant managerial position at Sunderland.
"The club will be making no further comment at this time."