Sunderland manager search: Derek McInnes remains clear favourite as new names linked

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes
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Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes remains the bookies clear favourite to land the Sunderland job, with the hunt for a new boss set to step up in the coming days.

McInnes is 1/2 on with some bookmakers to replace David Moyes at the Stadium of Light, and the Echo understands he does want the chance to steer Sunderland's promotion bid back to the Premier League next season.

Sunderland are understood to favour an experienced manager to help guide them next campaign with chief executive Martin Bain set to narrow down the search.

McInnes is the clear favourite with Nigel Clough 4/1 second favourite for the job, although Cardiff City's vastly experienced Neil Warnock has today been linked in the national press.

The Express claim Warnock - 22/1 with Sky Bet - is "being talked up as a rival" to McInnes and former Swansea and Leeds boss Gary Monk but Warnock hasn't officially thrown his hat into the ring.

Monk must be considered a serious contender given his record at Leeds United but his odds have drifted to 14/1 and relegation rivals Middlesbrough are understood to be leading the race to land him as their next boss, with Nigel Pearson also heavily linked with both jobs.

Meanwhile, Preston North End boss Simon Grayson has emerged as another possible contender for the role but his odds remain a lengthy 18/1 with Sky Bet.

The 47-year-old former Blackpool, Leeds United and Huddersfield Town boss would tick a lot of boxes for Sunderland's hierarchy.

Grayson enjoyed a successful four-year spell at Leeds, guiding the club to promotion from League One back into the Championship. When he left Leeds, Grayson had a remarkable win percentage record of 49.7 per cent.

He later enjoyed an instant impact with Huddersfield Town before taking charge at Preston.

McInnes remains the firm favourite with bookmakers, though, and as reported earlier this week McInnes has made it clear privately that he would jump at the chance to manage at the Stadium of Light.

And the Echo understands the Scot is on a shortlist drawn up by Bain, as he looks to replace David Moyes, who resigned last Monday.

Publicly McInnes has claimed his focus is on Aberdeen and that he would only leave Pittodrie, where he has spent three successful years, if the circumstances were right.

Aberdeen yesterday lost the Scottish Cup Final to Celtic and a dejected McInnes admitted his side were beaten by a touch of "class" but is confident that his side can go one better next season.

He said: "It felt like two proper teams slugging it out.

"There were chances, both keepers made great saves and good saves and when it's slugging it out there is sometimes that lucky punch or that killer punch and today I think Rogic produced a bit of class, a brilliant finish, though we are disappointed of course, compounded because it was a cup final.

"We put a lot into it and I'm just gutted for the players, and gutted for the supporters who made a big effort again today.

"I feel we will be back.

"I absolutely feel we can come back here next year and it make it go our way that time. It is fine lines."