Robbie Stockdale on the Sunderland manager's job and how long he expects to be in charge

Robbie Stockdale and Billy McKinlay.
Robbie Stockdale and Billy McKinlay.
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Robbie Stockdale will continue to hold the Sunderland fort until a new manager is appointed.

Stockdale and Billy McKinlay were put in caretaker charge for the Tees-Wear derby defeat to Middlesbrough, a sixth minute Marcus Tavernier goal enough to win it for Boro.

Stockdale, who led the side, says he will back whatever decision the club makes.

He will continue to lead training at the Academy of Light alongside McKinlay with the Championship now taking a break for the latest round of international fixtures.

Sunderland are searching for their ninth manager in six years with Ally McCoist a leading contender for the job.

Reports north of the border claim Walter Smith could also head to Wearside in an advisory role alongside McCoist if they choose to go down that route.

The Echo understands the club is still assessing its options with an appointment likely to be made during the international break.

When asked about the situation, Stockdale said: "Nothing new from when I spoke to you guys on Friday. I was fully focused on this game.

"We have an international break to go into now, I'm sure the club will be having discussions."

When asked whether he expected to be in charge for the visit of Millwall a week on Saturday, Stockdale added: "The sole focus of myself and Billy was this game.

"Obviously it buys the club a little bit of time to assess what they want to do.

"Whatever they decide to do, we will back it."

Asked whether he'd like to still be in charge, Stockdale added: "Listen, it is a conversation to have with the football club."

Stockdale, a former Boro defender, added: "It was a big afternoon for me, Billy and the rest of the staff were fantastic and we worked well together.

"You look back now and think no, I didn't really enjoy it because you don't enjoy losing the game. I always knew it would be a tough afternoon.

"Their forward players are very good and are a threat. For large parts we dealt with it well."

McCoist has always been among the early contenders to replace Simon Grayson and the Echo understands he was keen on the role in the summer.

Former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has been high in the odds ever since Grayson departed and the Echo understands he would listen to what Sunderland had to say if approached.

The Black Cats are expected to plumb for an experienced manager given the current plight they find themselves in, with Sunderland rock bottom of the Championship after 16 games.

That approach would rule out current bookies favourite John O'Shea with South Shields-born Phil Brown a bookies contender having declared it would be a dream to land the SAFC job.

Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom and Shrewsbury boss Paul Hurst have also been linked.