Takeover talks will not be resolved until next week as Ellis Short continues his bid to sell Sunderland.
The Black Cats owner had set a deadline of the end of the month for interested parties to complete a deal for the club.
However, the Echo understands that the deadline could be brought forward, with one of the potential buyers keen to finalise a takeover by the beginning of the week.
A German consortium is in pole position to strike an agreement with Short, who is believed to want around £90million for his holding.
However, there is also renewed interest from a US consortium, according to reports in London yesterday.
The German group remains strong favourites, and sources near to the bid say they are ‘very close’ to an agreement.
However, with a number of small differences still to be ironed out, it is by no means guaranteed that Short will accept the terms on offer.
Sunderland’s players return to pre-season training on Thursday, before jetting off to Austria for a five-day training camp on Monday.
First-team coach Robbie Stockdale will lead pre-season until a new manager comes in, with an appointment put on hold until the takeover talks are finalised.
Preston North End boss Simon Grayson remains the bookies’ favourite, but any new owners would look to bring in their own man.