No contact between Sunderland and bookies favourite Aitor Karanka

Karanka is out of work and posted a cryptic tweet on Wednesday night
Karanka is out of work and posted a cryptic tweet on Wednesday night
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Sunderland have not spoken to former Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka regarding the vacant managerial position.

Karanka is the heavy favourite with the bookmakers for the role, and set tongues wagging with a cryptic tweet from Kings Cross station on Wednesday night.

The Spaniard retains a base in the north east after leaving Middlesbrough in March.

However, he has not been approached by Sunderland as they search for Simon Grayson's replacement.

Karanka is keen to get back in the game and has spoken of his desire to remain in England, but passed up the chance to take over at Middlesbrough and La Liga side Alaves earlier this season and it remains to be seen whether Sunderland would be able to offer the backing and security required to convince him to take the role.

Karanka told Goals on Sunday in May that he was in no rush to return to management: "No, I did the first step (at Boro) and I had other offers, maybe more attractive offers in terms of cities or competitions but when I met Steve Gibson and the people in that club I knew that it was the best move for me and time has shown that it was right and now I have to take the next step.

"I can’t throw out everything that got me to this point (in my career) so I need a good project. I need to be sure that I am arriving at the right place to keep developing my career."

Sunderland remain hopeful of appointing a new manager before next Saturday's clash with Millwall, with a short-term appointment a possibility.