Robbie Stockdale is set to play a key role in Sunderland’s pre-season preparations after the club suspended their manager search.
The Black Cats revealed yesterday that they won’t appoint a new boss while Ellis Short continues takeover talks with interested parties, including a German consortium.
The first-team squad are due back at the Academy of Light on June 29 for fitness testing.
And with Paul Bracewell having left the club, that just leaves first-team coach Stockdale, goalkeeping coach Adrian Tucker and Under-23s boss Elliott Dickman as senior members of the backroom staff.
Stockdale is highly-rated at the club, and could be tasked with the job of leading pre-season training in the interim period.
Sunderland have promised to put a strict timeframe on takeover talks, and if those don’t end in a sale they will then look to bring in a new manager.
There is a tight window before the first friendly of the season, however, against Bury on July 7, with the Championship season starting on August 5.
Sunderland legend Kevin Ball could also potentially help with first-team duties. Ball, who has had two spells as caretaker manager, still works for the club in an ambassadorial role.
A club statement said: “Detailed pre-season preparations are already in place and our aim is to do everything we can to ensure Sunderland’s return to the top flight.”