Roy Keane blasts Ellis Short and Sunderland board as they hunt for seventh manager since he left

Republic of Ireland's Manager Martin O'Neill (left) chats to assistant Roy Keane

Republic of Ireland's Manager Martin O'Neill (left) chats to assistant Roy Keane

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Former Sunderland manager Roy Keane has urged the club’s hierarchy to “have a good look at themselves” as they attempt to find their seventh permanent boss since his departure.

Keane’s own reign at the Stadium of Light came to an end after a little less than 27 months in December 2008 after his relationship with owner and chairman Ellis Short deteriorated.

Asked if he was surprised by head coach Dick Advocaat’s departure on Sunday, the Republic of Ireland’s assistant manager, speaking to the media in Dublin on Tuesday, said: “No.”

Asked why not, he replied: “It’s Sunderland, isn’t it? It’s a brilliant club, but I don’t know, I really can’t comment on why different managers have left or have been sacked.

“But people in the background probably need to have a good look at themselves.”

Asked further if he was referring to people who were at the club during his spell on Wearside, he said: “Yes”, before adding with a smile: “If they’d let me alone, I’d probably still be there now and I wouldn’t be having to chat to you.”

Keane’s comments came as Short continued to assess the potential field for a key appointment which could ultimately come down to hard cash.

Ex-West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce is in the club’s leading contender, with Sean Dyche and David Moyes ruling themselves out.

Nigel Pearson’s chances are remote, the Echo understands.