Kevin Phillips says the situation at Sunderland is 'worrying' as the search for David Moyes' replacement continues into its fifth week.
Phillips, currently a coach at Derby County, has played down speculation linking him with the job. The 43-year-old has been one of the frontrunners with bookmakers.
He told The Mirror: “I didn’t chuck my name in the hat,
“It is just natural because of my affiliation with the club. I am contracted to Derby.
"I am delighted to be here and happy to be here with the changes we have made over the last year or so and I have managed to stay so I can only speak about Derby at the minute."
Phillips said that Derek McInnes' decision to turn down the job raises alarm bells for the club he represented with such distinction.
Sunderland released a statement in the aftermath of that news to say that takeover talks were affecting the search. Pre-season begins on Thursday with Robbie Stockdale set to take the helm for the time being.
Phillips has insisted that any new manager will want assurances regarding the budget.
He said: "The Sunderland situation, who knows what is happening there until the takeover happens.
“It worries me when Derek McInnes has turned the job down so there is something going on behind the scenes there.
“Until the takeover happens, if it happens, then I can understand why people are distancing themselves.
“Any prospective manager going in there will want some money to change it, it is as simple as that, you need money to spend.”