Next Sunderland manager: Ex-Leeds United and Fulham men among candidates to replace Mike Dodds during summer: photo gallery

Sunderland are on the hunt for their next permanent head coach once again with Mike Dodds set to take the first-team on an interim basis until the summer.

That’s after Michael Beale left his position as Sunderland head coach. Beale was appointed as Tony Mowbray's successor in December but has left the club after back-to-back defeats to Huddersfield Town and Birmingham City.

Beale did not take training at the Academy of Light on Monday before his departure later that afternoon. The former Rangers boss was handed a two-and-a-half-year contract but in the end took charge of just 12 fixtures, including the 3-0 FA Cup defeat to Newcastle United.

His final record reads at four wins, two draws and seven defeats. Mike Dodds, who oversaw three games following Tony Mowbray's departure, returns to the post of interim head coach and will stay in that role until the summer, giving the club time to plot their long-term direction.

Sporting director Kristjaan Speakman said he was 'disappointed' that Beale was leaving but that it was in the best interests of the club. He added that the club took 'full accountability' for what had happened.

"We are disappointed that Michael is leaving Sunderland AFC," Speakman said in a club statement. "Our desire is to improve and unfortunately that hasn’t been evident, as such we take full accountability and feel that acting decisively is in the best interests of the Club. This has been a difficult few months for Michael, who leaves with our best wishes for the future.

"Our focus is now on the players and supporting Mike Dodds in the remaining games to ensure we achieve the highest possible league finish. We will be updating our supporters further as and when significant developments are made.”

But who will take over from Dodds at the Academy of Light during the summer? Here, we take a look at the early candidates: