Former Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy says he would return to tyhe club 'in a heartbeat - if he was looking for a job.
McCarthy is out of contract at Ipswich Town in the summer, and has endured a fraught relationship with the club's fans in recent weeks.
The 58-year-old had a largely successful three-year spell at the Stadium of Light between 2003 and 2006, guiding the Black Cats to the play-offs, then the Championship title as well as an FA Cup semi-final, before being sacked with the club bottom of the Premier League.
He's played down talk of him returning to Wearside to replace Simon Grayson because he is still under contract at Portman Road, but admits it's a job he'd love to have again.
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“I’m contracted here,” McCarthy told the East Anglian Times when asked if a return to Sunderland might interest him.
“Maybe if I was out of contract... Oh yeah, if I was out of contract, and I was free and available, then yes I’d go back in a heartbeat because I loved my time there.
“But I’m not out of contract, I’m not free and available, so no I wouldn’t be going back.
“I’m not looking for any other jobs. I’m not interested in that. But when I’m free and available, yes, I will be looking for another job and Sunderland would interest me, of course it would.”