New favourites emerge for Sunderland job... so what would they bring and how might their teams play?

Clough is the new bookies favourite
Clough is the new bookies favourite
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Sunderland's search for a new manager has stepped up and the profile of candidate in the frame has changed significantly since the news first broke of David Moyes' departure.

The likes of Nigel Pearson and Kevin Phillips have drifted in the markets with Derek McInnes the favourite.

He is thought to be a strong candidate for the job, with Paul Lambert, expected to soon depart Wolves, another thought to be a contender.

Garry Monk's Leeds departure is also likely to interest Sunderland, if he is not snapped up by a club in a stronger position, while Nigel Clough's odds have dramatically fallen on Friday morning.

No appointment is imminent with Martin Bain and Ellis Short taking their time, so we take a closer look at four of those mentioned to see what they might bring to Sunderland.

Derek McInnes

Past Record & Personality

Has an excellent reputation north of the border, where has he transformed the fortunes of both St Johnstone and Aberdeen.

Having taken over when Owen Coyle left for Burnley, McInnes ended their seven year spell in the first division. He kept them up the following year, also reaching a cup semi-final and the League Cup quarter final.

At Aberdeen he turned them from relegation contenders to the second best team in the country, with three consecutive second placed league finishes, a League Cup win and a Scottish Cup final to come this weekend. Walter Smith was a firm advocate that he should get the Rangers job earlier this year, but they instead went for Pedro Caixinha.

Less successful was his one stint in the Championship with Bristol City, where an excellent escape from relegation was followed by a wretched season in which McInnes left the Robins well adrift at the bottom.

That is perhaps the main reason why some Sunderland fans remain torn on his credentials.

Has a reputation for being a bullish and confident personality, recently telling Caixinha he should be 'embarrassed' to finish below Aberdeen.

Recruitment record

Has built an excellent squad on a shoestring budget at Pittodrie.

The likes of Kenny McLean, Johnny Hayes, Niall McGinn and Graham Shinnie have all improved on his watch and would yield a significant profit if moved on.

It is a market he would surely try to utilise if he landed the Black Cats gig.

Style of Play

His Aberdeen side have a reputation for being well-drilled, excellent on the counter attack and generally prioritizing the wide areas when it comes to attack. McInnes is a manager known for building sides high on discipline and work ethic.

Paul Lambert

Past Record & Personality

A Champions League winner, Lambert's managerial career started overwhelmingly but his reputation soared after glittering back to back promotions with Norwich City. One of the best attacking sides in the lower leagues, he attracted the attention of Aston Villa.

From there it has been a mixed bag, Lambert winning praise for keeping a young side up in his first season at Villa Park but from there on in they flirted with relegation.

Lambert was replaced by Tim Sherwood and has struggled to find a home since then, keeping Blackburn up but leaving soon after. It increasingly looks like it will be a very similar story with Wolves.

Early reaction from Sunderland fans suggest he is not a personality who would inspire.

Recruitment Record

Would represent real continuity from plans drawn up by Moyes in the sense that he is likely to favour homegrown players with lower league experience.

That was the template for his recruitment at Norwich and Aston Villa, and at Wolves January signings of Ben Marshall and Andreas Weimann proved crucial. His expected departure from Molineux is said to owe much to the influence of super agent Jorge Mendes and his influence over signings. That gives a strong indication of where Lambert would turn.

Style of Play

At Wolves Lambert has stuck mainly with the counter-attacking template seen at Villa. Can be highly effective when on song and has brought the best out of Portugese winger Helder Costa, but he has been accused of being one-dimensional.

Bringing in wingers would likely be a high priority for Lambert with Sunderland's side shy of pace on the flanks.

Garry Monk

Past Record & Personality

Having kept Swansea up in his first season, he went on to secure a staggering 8th place finish in his first season. That year Swansea become only the third club to complete a Premier League double over Arsenal and Manchester United in the same campaign.

He left Swansea after a sudden downturn midway through the next campaign, but has restored his reputation and then some by stabilising Leeds United and almost leading them into an unlikely play-off spot.

Highly respected within the game, Monk is known for being a well driven and highly confident figure. Has built a reputation for being an eloquent and deep thinker on the game. Would be a significant coup for Sunderland but he may well be snapped up by a more financially stable outfit.

Recruitment Record

One area where Monk's record is mixed.

Kemar Roofe has been a success for Leeds but his January business, where he sought extra backing from the board, has not succeeded.

At Swansea he brought in the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lukasz Fabianski to great success, but the following summer the likes of Eder and Franck Tabanou flopped badly.

Style of Play

Has favoured a 4-2-3-1 system at both clubs. Faced criticism for shifting away from the 'Swansealona' possession based football in South Wales to a more counter-attacking style.

Nigel Clough

Past Record & Personality

A far more reserved character than his father, Clough Jnr has often operated best on a limited budget.

His work at Burton Albion this season has been remarkable and saw him nominated for the LMA Manager of the Year award. His inability to lift Sheffield United out of League One was a disappointment but two cup semi-finals was an impressive feat.

At Derby his record is difficult to judge. A play-off push never materialised but he brought through some excellent young players and made some signings that would stand the Rams in good stead for the future, despite a turbulent off-field climate.

Recruitment Record

Relied heavily on loans and free transfers to keep Burton up this year. The £330,000 signing of goal scoring midfielder Jackson Irvine was a masterstroke, while the January loan signings of Michael Kightly and Cauley Woodrow made a big difference.

His record at Derby was mixed, although the likes of Craig Byrson, Richard Keogh, Chris Martin and Johnny Russell were signed at little expense and made a major impact.

Style of Play

Has kept Burton up playing a 3-5-2 system. Has had to shepherd an ageing backline through the season and has relied on his wing-backs for most of the pace and creativity. Jackson Irvine's goals from midfield have been absolutely crucial.

At Derby his squad building laid the foundations for the far more possession based play, suggesting a pragmatist who will adapt as he sees fit.