Former Sunderland goalkeeper Chris Turner admits it is 'flattering' to be linked with the vacant chief executive role at the Stadium of Light.
But 57-year-old Turner, currently chief executive at Chesterfield, insists his focus remains fully on life at the Proact stadium.
Turner, who made more than 200 appearances for Sunderland as a goalkeeper, told the Derbyshire Times: “I enjoyed my time as a player at Sunderland and it is flattering to be linked with a Premier League club, but I am focused on my job with Chesterfield.”
Sunderland are taking their time over appointing a successor to Margaret Byrne, who resigned last week following the outcry into her decision to allow Adam Johnson to continue playing for the Black Cats, while awaiting trial for sex offences.
Chairman Ellis Short is understood to be seeking advice from people both inside and outside the club over a possible successor to Byrne, with Sunderland facing a key appointment over the day-to-day running of the Black Cats.
But the Echo understands that Turner - who made more than 200 appearances during six years at Sunderland - is one of the candidates interested in taking charge.
Meanwhile, Sunderland midfielder Seb Larsson insists Sam Allardyce's squad should relish the Tyne-Wear derby, rather than be overawed by the £100million at stake for both North East clubs.
Sunderland and Newcastle United are arguably facing the biggest derby day since the 1990 play-off semi-finals, with Sunday’s St James’s Park showdown pitting two of the three sides realistically battling to avoid joining Aston Villa in the Championship.
Larsson told the Echo: "Of course there’s more pressure on the game with both clubs involved in the relegation fight.
"But you always look forward to this game.
"Yes, the pressure’s on because of the situation in the league, but it’s one of those games that you want to be involved in as a player."
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And finally, Sunderland midfielder Liam Agnew is spending a second week on trial at League One Bradford City.