Sunderland manager targets discuss their aims and plans as Stewart Donald eyes move
Sunderland have been linked with a host of managerial targets - but what do they have to say about a potential move to the Stadium of Light?
A number of the Black Cats’ rumoured targets have discussed their long-term aims, suggested potential plans and dropped hints over moves in recent months.
And with Stewart Donald continuing his hunt for a replacement for Jack Ross - who departed on Tuesday - these comments could offer fans an insight into what a new manager may be planning should they be appointed on Wearside.
Here’s a look at what a number of managers have been saying - and what it could mean for Sunderland in the long-term:
The former Bolton Wanderers manager is now the front-runner with the bookmakers, with reports suggesting that he was set to hold talks with the Black Cats this weekend.
Parkinson has been out of work since August, when he and assistant Steve Parkin resigned from the crisis club, and has been linked with Southend United and Lincoln City since his departure.
And while ready to get back to work, he suggested that a club without the off-field uncertainty of Bolton would appeal to him.
“It was an honour to manage a historic club like Bolton,” he said in an interview with the Times.
“But it would be nice to go somewhere and just concentrate on preparing a team for Saturday afternoon without all the other complications.”
He may, therefore, wish for some clarity on Sunderland’s ongoing investment talks during his discussions with the club’s hierarchy.
Another front-runner with the bookmakers, Ainsworth has made no secret of his desire to manage at a higher level.
“I want a club that has ambitions to play in the Championship, to be as high as they possibly can,” he said, speaking to the Totally Football League Show.
“I’m open to everything.
“Wycombe have this potential. I’m really hoping that the fans understand that, unfortunately, money is needed in football and to progress, especially to the next level. It’s going to take some serious investment.
“We have people willing to put their money in. The fans love owning their own club and I understand that as well.
“But the ambition for me is to get into that Championship one way or the other.”
Speaking to the Times, Ainsworth said: “It would take something extra special for me to go, because of what I’ve built here, what I have here.”
Sunderland reportedly approached Wigan to gain permission to speak to Cook, with the former Portsmouth and Chesterfield manager well-versed in League One.
And with the Latics struggling for form in the second tier this term, a move may wel prove appealing.
Cook, though, has already shot down rumours of his departure this term.
Speaking about the prospect of him leaving after a defeat to QPR earlier this term, Cook told Wigan Today: “That is the last thing I want.
“That is the last thing I’d like to think to think the players want!
“It is certainly not something that anyone at this football club is thinking about.”
Sunderland legend Peter Reid, who works alongside Cook at Wigan, also believes the manager is content with life in the North West.
“I know he’s happy with Wigan,” he said.
“Well he was this morning [Thursday], I haven’t spoken to him since.”
It’s no surprise to see Stendel linked with Sunderland given his achievements with Barnsley last season, and his availability after leaving Oakwell.
But the German is notoriously coy on managerial links, having refused to comment on speculation that he was bound for Middlesbrough this summer.
So while his potential interest in the Sunderland vacancy remains unclear, his style of play is clear - and will likely appeal to fans of the Black Cats.
“It doesn’t matter what team we are playing, we play our style,” Stendel told the Guardian.
“We play forward, active and we want to win the game. I like emotions and I like a lot of team spirit.”
Sunderland fans would undoubtedly appreciate a similar approach if the ex-Barnsley boss is handed the job.
Sunderland’s desire for a manager with League One experience likely rules the club legend out of the race - but he has been clear of his desire to land the job.
“Of course, I am interested in the job,” he said.
“I’ve watched the club closely, I’ve followed them, I’ve spoken to a lot of people, friends who go to games home and away. There is not an awful lot wrong at the football club. Things just need tweaking a little bit, left and right.
“Maybe they just need someone in there, and I’m going to talk myself up now, someone that can relate to the players, that’s been there not that long ago and they haven’t had that.
“When you look at the managers since 2013, I think they’ve had 11 managers, none of them have been able to get it going. Maybe they need to try a fresh approach. Of course, yes, I’d love to have the opportunity.”
It would be a surprise to see Holloway handed the job, but he has already confirmed his interest in the role.
“I would run up there,” he said, speaking to TalkSport.
“I’d run up now.”
“That’s a magnificent job for somebody.
“There’s all sorts of favourites going on and names being mentioned but nobody but you lot has mentioned me.
“What a wonderful, wonderful opportunity with the fanbase to actually get things going again.”