Sunderland may look abroad for boss as interest hots up

Nigel Pearson
Nigel Pearson
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Sunderland have had interest from home and abroad in their hunt for a new manager – but Nigel Pearson will not be tasked with saving the club from relegation.

The former Leicester City chief is a free agent after being axed by the Foxes in the summer.

And while reports emerged suggesting the Black Cats have approached Pearson the Echo understands he won’t be replacing Dick Advocaat at the Stadium of Light.

Early favourites David Moyes and Sean Dyche have distanced themselves from the job, while No 1 target Sam Allardyce has concerns about taking charge at Sunderland.

No appointment is imminent but contrary to reports nobody wants the job, the club has had expressions of interest from managers both in this country and abroad.

Ellis Short and sporting director Lee Congerton, who is understood to be working his notice, are casting the net far and wide in their search for the club’s sixth new manager in four years.

Allardyce, a free agent after leaving West Ham in the summer, remains the favourite.

The 60-year-old former Sunderland defender topped an Echo fan poll but is currently in Spain and is set to embark on a promotion tour of his autobiography, which is released later this month.

Pearson has also been among the early favourites since Advocaat’s departure was confirmed but although he remains on a list of candidates being compiled by the club, the Echo understands his chances of getting the job are remote.

Sunderland, without a win in the Premier League, are sounding out other options though they could still turn to Pearson if those alternatives don’t impress.

Robbie Stockdale, with the help of Paul Bracewell, is in caretaker charge during the international break with Short keen to have a new appointment in place ahead of West Brom away a week on Saturday.

Stockdale’s chances of taking charge on a permanent basis are slim despite being among the favourites with several bookmakers.

Ex-Inter Milan, Napoli and Sampdoria boss Walter Mazzarri and former USA manager Bob Bradley have also been linked, with MK Dons’ Karl Robinson and Burton’s Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink outside bets.

Meanwhile, ex-Spurs, Portsmouth and Southampton boss Harry Redknapp has had a bizarre blast at Sunderland.

In a strange video interview conducted from his car in a car park, Redknapp labelled the Black Cats ‘horrendous’, hitting out at the recruitment and saying the centre-halves are poor.

The former QPR boss ruled himself out of the running and said he didn’t think close friend Allardyce wanted the job either.

“I saw them at Bournemouth the other day and they were an absolute disaster. Bournemouth wiped the floor with them,” said Redknapp.

“They were horrendous. They haven’t recruited well.

“Whoever takes it has a tough job on his hands. They’re poor at the back, the centre-halves aren’t good enough, they’re short everywhere.

“There’s a lot of work to be done there.”