With David Moyes' long-term future in doubt, who could Sunderland turn to if he departs? We profile the runners and riders

David Moyes
David Moyes
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David Moyes' Sunderland future is hanging in the balance.

Reports in the national press this morning suggested the Scot could well be set for the Stadium of Light exit door by the end of the week, following a London meeting with owner Ellis Short.

But our man Richard Mennear has revealed that no decision will be taken on Moyes' future and Sunderland's direction until their disastrous season has come to a close.

Will he, or won't he stay for next season's Championship promotion tilt? It's been the question on the lips of most Black Cats fans since the moment the inevitable relegation was finally confirmed thanks to Saturday's 1-0 home loss to Bournemouth.

While we cannot say with any certainty that Moyes will depart this summer, the pressure is certainly on from the fans for the ex-Everton man to be given his marching orders.

And that begs the question, who could step in if Moyes is given the boot?

Here we take a look at the runners and riders for the Sunderland top job.

Aitor Karanka

The Spaniard left the Riverside six weeks ago, with Boro similarly staring down the relegation barrel.

And while his time at Middlesbrough was, on the whole, successful, he paid for the inability to get his side to create chances and score goals.

While it is easy to dwell on the negatives of his final year on Teeside, Karanka certainly does have a lot going for him.

He knows how to gain promotion, having guided Boro to second in 2015/16 - that ticks one, much needed box.

Karanka can also attract players. He managed to convince Alvaro Negredo and Victor Valdes to sign last summer, even though, neither, in particular the former, have not really worked out.

Garry Monk

Leaving Leeds United, a club seemingly on the up, for Sunderland would, in normal circumstances, be no easy sell.

But Leeds are no normal club, not while Massimo Cellino is at the helm, anyway.

Has done a cracking job to make the Whites a force again and may want to continue that next season, with automatic promotion clearly the aim.

But will he be given all the tools, and correct backing, to do the job? Only time will tell.

Nigel Pearson

Left Derby County earlier this season by mutual consent.

Despite being linked with any number of jobs, he is yet to land another gig in the second tier.

No novice, having been a full time boss at Southampton, Leicester City and Hull City, Pearson would bring experience.

Would be seen by many as a safe pair of hands appointment.

Steve McClaren

Another who knows his way around the Championship, but a manager who has maybe or two too many fails on his CV for any Sunderland fans' liking.

He's available, happy to manage in the North East and is well rated by players up and down the land for his coaching ability. Time and time again, though, has come up short in the managerial department, including at Newcastle last season.

Slavisa Jokanovic

Has put together probably the most easy on the eye team in the second tier this campaign in Fulham - just ask the Magpies, who he has beaten twice this season.

But the problem could lie in the fact that in-form Fulham might well pass Sunderland on the way up.

Fulham are bound for the play-offs and could well join Newcastle and Brighton in returning to the top flight.

An unlikely appointment but his successes make him an option worth some considerable consideration.

Kevin Phillips

Untried and untested - this would be a big risk for the Black Cats.

But in an era where a lack of passion is being suggested, Phillips certainly knows what it is like to lead Sunderland from the front.

Hugely popular, the fans would take little convincing were he to be approached, despite only ever being a coach.

...There's always Roy Keane

Sunderland fans were singing his name in the Boro defeat last week.

And it's fair to say he'd be no

Whether Short would go back in for the Republic of Ireland No 2, is another thing all together, especially the way it all ended for Keane at the SoL.