Sunderland’s hierarchy won’t rush into appointing a new manager – but leading contender Derek McInnes DOES want the job at the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats are searching for their ninth manager in eight-and-a-half years after David Moyes walked away from Wearside on Monday.
Owner Ellis Short and chief executive Martin Bain – who is leading the search – have been taking stock following Moyes’ departure and, while there isn’t expected to be any movement until next week, further talks between the pair are planned in the coming days.
Aberdeen boss McInnes is one of the names under serious consideration and the Echo understands that he wants the chance to lead relegated Sunderland’s promotion charge.
McInnes is currently preparing for tomorrow’s Scottish Cup Final against Celtic at Hampden Park, but the Echo believes that the Paisley-born 45-year-old has privately intimated that he would like to move to Wearside this summer.
McInnes also remains the strong favourite with bookmakers, although Sunderland are considering a number of names – with Garry Monk shooting back up in the odds after he resigned as Leeds United boss yesterday.
Monk would tick a lot of boxes for Sunderland’s hierarchy, but Championship rivals Middlesbrough appear in pole position to land him. The sheer number of managerial jobs on the market is an added complication for Sunderland.
Paul Lambert is also one of the names believed to be under consideration, but only if he leaves Wolves.
His Scottish counterpart McInnes has built a strong reputation north of the border having led Aberdeen to three consecutive second place finishes in the top tier of Scottish football.
He has managed it this year despite the return of Rangers to the top flight, and also won the Scottish League Cup with the Dons in 2014, their first trophy in 19 years.
McInnes has worked as a manager in the Championship once before, taking over as Bristol City boss in 2011. An eight-game unbeaten run saw them escape the drop, but he left in January 2013 with the Ashton Gate team four points adrift of safety.
He also managed St Johnstone between 2007 and 2011, winning the Scottish First Division.
Ex-Rangers and Everton boss Walter Smith, understood to have offered advice to Bain on Sunderland’s next appointment, is a big admirer of McInnes.
This summer is shorter than usual for Sunderland, with the players returning to pre-season training in late June ahead of the Championship season kicking off on August 5.
Sunderland have little time to waste, but the hierarchy know they must get this appointment right following relegation.
Monk has also been heavily linked with Crystal Palace following Sam Allardyce’s shock resignation. Marco Silva, who has left Hull City, and Fulham head coach Slavisa Jokanovic are also high on Palace’s wanted list.
Jokanovic was linked with the Sunderland job, but the Echo understands that was never likely to materialise.
The previous favourites for the Sunderland gig, Nigel Pearson and former Black Cats star Kevin Phillips, have drifted, though Pearson’s chances would increase should Monk land the Boro job.
Pearson is understood to be on the shortlist at the Riverside, but Monk’s departure from Leeds has provided fresh competition.