Former Sunderland managers linked with Celtic role

Paolo Di Canio.
Paolo Di Canio.
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FORMER Sunderland manager Paolo di Canio wants to join another ex-Black Cat boss, Roy Keane, as a contender for the vacant Celtic job.

Both ex-Sunderland managers played for Celtic and therefore have an obvious connection with the Scottish giants.

Roy Keane.

Roy Keane.

But while Keane’s name appears to have been thrust forward naturally since Neil Lennon’s surprise resignation after four years in charge, it is Di Canio’s own representatives who have chucked their man’s name into the ring.

Di Canio, who spent a year with Celtic after joining in the summer of 1996, recently said that he is ready to return to management eight months after he was sacked by the Black Cats.

And the controversial Italian’s agent Phil Spencer says that although there has been no contact with Celtic, Di Canio would like to be considered for the role.

“Paolo would be keen to speak to Celtic,” Spencer revealed.

“He played for the club and he certainly has a good relationship with the fans.

“There has been no contact between Paolo and the club but if there was, it’s something he would consider.”

Di Canio took over at Sunderland in March last year and kept the club in the Premier League by sparking just enough of an upturn in the club’s last seven matches for survival to be achieved.

But Sunderland went on to pick up just one point from their first five games last season and with the football dismal and the players in open rebellion, he was sacked last September.

Keane meanwhile - boss of Sunderland from 2006-08 - might feel a huge emotional pull towards Celtic, the club he supported as a boy.

It is a pull possibly strong enough to give up the cosy punditry role which he currently couples with the role of assistant manager of the Republic of Ireland.

And another former Black Cats’ boss, Martin O’Neill, now manager of the Republic of Ireland, says he will not stand in Keane’s way if his second in command decides to return to club management.

“Naturally, having brought him in, I’d be disappointed if it went through that he’s gone,” said O’Neill.

“But I wouldn’t really be standing in his way in that sense.

“I would say that he would make a good manager, I have always said this about Roy Keane.

I think the experiences he has had at Sunderland and Ipswich will stand him in good stead.

“He has this opportunity to come with me as my assistant here at this moment, but I have often said that he will be a manager.”