With Donald, Richard Hill and Tony Coton nearing an appointment, we’ve taken a look at the records and careers of both Parkinson and Ainsworth to see which would be a better fit at the Stadium of Light – and who ticks the most boxes. Scroll down and click through the pages to see how the pair stack-up when it comes to their managerial careers:
5. CAN THEY HANDLE THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
While getting out of League One is the priority for Sunderland, remaining in the Championship next season will also be vital. Parkinson has experience in that regard, guiding Bolton to safety before off-field circumstances led to relegation the following season. Ainsworth is yet to manage above League One, although he has played in the second tier.
Photo: Harry Trump
6. THE 'BIG CLUB' FACTOR
Managing a club of Sunderland’s size naturally comes with pressure - and the new manager will have to get to grips with the expectation quickly. Neither has managed a club the size of the Black Cats before, but Parkinson’s experience with Charlton and Bolton could prove useful.
Photo: Clive Brunskill
7. STYLE OF PLAY
Ainsworth’s attack-minded mentality would likely appeal more to Sunderland supporters, some of whom grew weary of a more conservative approach over recent months. Parkinson tends to play more direct but, if it gets results, supporters may not complain.
Photo: Dan Istitene
Both Parkinson and Ainsworth have excelled in terms of recruitment, signing a host of talented players while working with a restricted budget. Whoever is appointed may have to box clever in January.
Photo: Pete Norton