Sam Allardyce is the “outstanding” managerial candidate for Sunderland capable of keeping them up.
Phil Brown, who helped Allardyce turn around the fortunes of Bolton Wanderers, has backed the former West Ham boss to save the Black Cats and avoid the cycle of relegation battles.
Allardyce, a free agent, is the leading contender to replace Dick Advocaat at the Stadium of Light if a deal can be struck with Sunderland’s hierarchy.
The pair worked together at Bolton, helping transforming the North West outfit from a “yo-yo” team into an established Premier League outfit and even qualifying for European football.
Brown, Allardyce’s number two for six years before he took charge at Derby County, has told the Echo that there is only one man for the vacant manager’s seat.
“Sam is the man for the job,” said South Shields-born Brown, a lifelong Sunderland fan. “For me, he is the outstanding candidate.
“Sam has a wealth of experience with a really impressive CV and as an individual I am proud to have played a part given the amount of challenges we faced at Bolton Wanderers together with regards to survival campaigns.
“He inherited a yo-yo club by definition in the 1990s and turned that yo-yo club into an established Premier League club.
“And not only that, a Premier League club which was in Europe when he left.
“For me, without a shadow of a doubt, Sam is the best candidate for the job and, as a Sunderland supporter, I would be absolutely delighted if he was given the job,” added the 56-year-old Southend United boss.
Sunderland have had expressions of interest from contenders both in this country and abroad but the club are not rushing an appointment during the international break.
The first team isn’t back in action again until a week on Saturday when they head to West Brom and the aim is to have a new appointment in place by then.
Allardyce – who would want to command control of transfers – is currently in Spain but is due back in this country later this month ahead of a book tour to promote his autobiography.
The 60-year-old former Sunderland defender boasts a vast amount of experience after spells in charge of Bolton, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United.
With Brown as his number two, Allardyce established Bolton as a top-flight club, led them to a League Cup final while also qualifying for the Uefa Cup.
He has been out of work since leaving West Ham in the summer.