Leading contender admits he is 'flattered' to be linked with the Sunderland post

Former Oxford United boss Michael Appleton
Former Oxford United boss Michael Appleton
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Leicester City assistant boss Michael Appleton has said that he is 'flattered' to be linked with Sunderland.

Appleton is one of the leading contenders for the managerial post as Stewart Donald and his consortium await EFL approval for their takeover.

The 42-year-old has built a strong reputation in the game for his coaching and has the added benefit of having worked in League One before, where he took Oxford United to the brink of the play-offs and two Checkatrade Trophy finals.

That experience of the third tier is likely to be important to the new regime, with Chris Wilder also a strong contender for the role.

Wilder has been coy about his Sheffield United future amid boardroom wrangling at Bramall Lane, while Appleton has also been linked with a summer switch to West Brom.

Appleton told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Look, Sunderland is a big club and it’s always nice to be linked with clubs like that.

“Sunderland is certainly a big job and it’s nice to be mentioned as a potential candidate.

“But ultimately, from my point of view, I’ll be focusing everything I do on Leicester City until I’m told otherwise.”

He added that whoever takes the job will need time and patience to turn the club around.

He said: “Every manager would like that backing, but in today’s game it’s very rare you’re given much time.

“But to build a club and a style and a relationship with fans, you are only going to get that with time. Ultimately at Sunderland for too long that hasn’t been the case.”