Sunderland target Derek McInnes insists he would only move for the RIGHT job – insisting he is in no rush to leave Aberdeen.
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 Martin Bain, as he looks to replace David Moyes, who resigned on Monday.
But McInnes has publicly stated, with a Scottish Cup final on the horizon against Celtic at 3pm this afternoon, that he’s fully focused on the job at hand with the Dons.
And he has played a clever hand by claiming he would only leave Pittodrie, where he has spent three successful years, if the circumstances were right.
“I’m protective of my own career,” said the 45-year-old former Bristol City and St Johnstone boss.
“There has been opportunities to move in the past, but I have never been in any real rush to leave Aberdeen.
“If we continue to do our jobs well there may be opportunities in the future, but a lot of things would have to be right for me to consider leaving.
“I made a bad decision leaving St Johnstone for Bristol City.
“Although, I actually feel like I did a lot of my best work as a manager when I was at Bristol City – but sometimes results don’t always play out and back that up.
“But I actually feel that keeping that team up from being in a really poor situation and with the level of player we had in, I thought we did extremely well to keep them in the division.
“Any manager can only be as strong as the team round about him as well.”
When asked whether he thought the speculation of the Cats job had been a distraction, he reiterated: “I still feel there is more to achieve. It has been no distraction.
“I’m aware of the speculation, but I’m thinking about winning this game.
“I have demanded focus from the players.
“I’m really happy at Aberdeen and I’ve had great experiences here and still believe there could be more to come.
“Honestly, it’s been no distraction whatsoever.
“It just doesn’t play a part, to be honest.
“At this stage of the season, a lot of English clubs have finished up and, when there are managerial changes and there are players moving on or players going out of contract, there’s loads of speculation.
“I’ve had speculation about my players for three months – players out of contract, players under contract.
“It’s just the nature of the game. It’s just speculation and it’s had no bearing on our preparation.”
Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough was the big mover in the betting yesterday, move at one stage from a 25/1 shot to briefly become the 7/4 favourite.
Clough was nominated for the LMA Manager of the Year after keeping the Brewers in the second tier on a shoestring budget.
Burton have not had any contact, however, regarding the availability of the 51-year-old who was born on Wearside and whose father represented the club with such distinction.
Clough rejected a move to Nottingham Forest this season.
Garry Monk remains the third favourite, but he has been heavily linked with joining Middlesbrough, who have yet to appoint a new manager following their relegation. Steve Gibson is an admirer of Monk, who almost led Leeds into the play-offs before his shock resignation earlier this week.