Sunderland may have to be patient if they want to make Garry Monk their new boss as they start to hold talks with managerial candidates.
Martin Bain is stepping up his search for David Moyes’ successor with Monk one of the men the Black Cats will approach over the job.
And the Echo understands that the former Leeds United chief would seriously consider an offer to succeed David Moyes in the Stadium of Light hotseat.
However, Monk is determined to weigh up all his options and has told friends he won’t dive straight back into management just for the sake of it.
Monk is out of work after resigning from the Elland Road post earlier this summer, and topped an Echo poll asking who fans wanted as Sunderland’s new manager.
Having led the Whites to within touching distance of the Championship play-offs, under difficult off-field circumstances, his stock is high, despite a troubled end to life at his maiden managerial stint at Swansea City.
And, as a result, he is not set to be short of offers this summer, with Middlesbrough having reportedly already held discussions with Monk since his Leeds exit.
But Sunderland, who have begun tentative talks with a number of candidates on their shortlist in recent days, are keen to start negotiations with Monk, who heads up a shortlist which has been whittled down by Bain in recent days.
The Echo has learned that Monk is open to an offer from the club.
With time on his side, though, the 38-year-old will not rush back into management just for the sake of it, and could wait to see how a number of Premier League positions play out before deciding on his future.
Monk has been linked with the Crystal Palace post, vacated by Sam Allardyce, recently, as has Burnley boss Sean Dyche. If the latter gets the Palace job, it would free up another top flight post and Monk would be seen as a prime candidate.
Sunderland need to make an appointment quickly, however, as they prepare for life outside the top flight for the first time in a decade. The players report back for pre-season training on June 29, while the new manager needs to rebuild a squad that could lose around a dozen players who are either out of contract or return to their parent clubs after the end of their loan spells.
Derek McInnes remains the bookmakers favourite for the top job at the Stadium of Light, with Preston’s Simon Grayson also heavily backed by punters.
Nigel Pearson is another name said to be in the frame, although he has been heavily linked with replacing former Black Cats midfielder Steve Agnew at Boro.
Another name linked to the job yesterday was Championship veteran Billy Davies.
The Scot led Derby to the top flight in 2007, and secured four more top-six finishes between 2005 and 2011.
Sources in Scotland say Davies has been sounded out by the Black Cats, though the Echo understands he isn’t currently being considered for the post.
Davies has been on gardening leave since parting from Forest in 2014 but that contract expired in March and is keen to get back into management.