Sunderland hold interviews in Manchester and Leeds but club won’t rush appointment as Robbie Stockdale prepares for Millwall

Martin Bain
Martin Bain
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Tuesday marks two-weeks since Sunderland sacked Simon Grayson yet the club is still to appoint his successor.

Grayson was given his marching orders within minute’s of the 3-3 draw with Bolton Wanderers but his replacement is yet to take their seat in the Sunderland dugout.

Former Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka remains the favourite, with Paul Heckingbottom also understood to be interested though there has been no official approach for the Barnsley boss.

Phil Neville is also understood to be keen on the role while Ally McCoist is understood to remain high in the club’s thinking.

The Echo understands the former Rangers boss, who has recently been in America, is keen on the role.

Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain, assisted by academy chief Jimmy Sinclair, is leading the selection process with interviews understood to be taking place outside the region.

The club’s hierarchy are understood to have met candidates in Manchester and Leeds in recent days.

Sunderland had hoped to have appointed Grayson’s successor during this break but won’t rush into an appointment with officials fully aware of the need to get the right man.

Caretaker boss Robbie Stockdale took training at the Academy of Light yesterday and is set to lead the side against Millwall at the Stadium of Light as things stand.

Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill saw his odds for the Sunderland job slashed on Monday following their World Cup play-off defeat to Switzerland.

O’Neill has also been linked with the vacant Scotland and Rangers jobs.

Edinburgh-based O’Neill has said he won’t rush a decision on his future.

It has since emerged clubs would have to shell out £750,000 in compensation to land O’Neill, though there are reports there is no such clause if he was to take charge of another national side. His achievements with Northern Ireland has won him many plaudits.