It has been a dramatic morning on Wearside after it emerged Keane would not be returning to the Stadium of Light for a second spell as manager.
Keane has been the leading candidate for over a week and was the No1 choice of the bulk of Sunderland fans.
But they were dealt a blow when he turned down the offer, that followed two interviews.
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Former Preston North End and Norwich City boss Neil had a second interview earlier this week and Sky Sports are now reporting the club is in advanced talks with him over the head coach role.
Sunderland want to appoint a new boss ahead of the weekend trip to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
Talks have also been held with Grant McCann and Sabri Lamouchi over the vacant role.
Keane was understood to be the preferred candidate at the Stadium of Light, yet as first reported by the Athletic, he ‘will not be landing back at the club he managed from 2006-08.’
Sunderland had been hopeful that a new head coach would be in place for Saturday’s trip to AFC Wimbledon.
Mike Dodds and Michael Proctor are currently overseeing preparations for the match at Plough Lane, following back-to-back defeats against Doncaster Rovers and Cheltenham.
Sunderland have now won just one of their last seven games and dropped to fourth in the League One table.
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