STEVE Guppy is set to become a permanent member of Martin O’Neill’s coaching staff, to continue his one-on-one tuition with Sunderland’s youngsters.
Former Celtic winger Guppy worked on a freelance basis at the Academy Of Light for the final two months of last season after leaving his role with American MLS outfit Colorado Rapids in November.
Guppy was charged with improving the technique of the younger members of Sunderland’s first-team squad, with the likes of Connor Wickham, Ji Dong-won and James McClean all doing extra training with the 43-year-old.
O’Neill, who managed Guppy at Wycombe, Leicester and Celtic, is now ready to add the one-time England international permanently, to work alongside first-team coach Steve Walford.
The Sunderland manager told the Gazette: “I want him to continue his individual work, particularly with the younger players here. That’s a really important step for us.
“He’s had great experience with Gary Smith, who’s at Stevenage now, after they both won the Major League Soccer in America.
“He’s got good experience for one I consider relatively young, and I want to develop him as a coach as much as anything else.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland defender Michael Liddle has joined Accrington Stanley on a permanent deal.
Left-back Liddle made 12 appearances for the League Two outfit last season, after moving to the Fraser Eagle Stadium in a loan switch in February.
With little prospect of the 22-year-old forcing his way into the first-team picture at the Stadium Of Light, he has now agreed to remain with Accrington in search of a regular starting spot.
Accrington boss Paul Cook said: “Michael is keen to come back as it’s an opportunity to play regularly.”
Former Republic of Ireland U21 international Liddle made just one first-team appearance for Sunderland after coming through the club’s academy ranks – as a substitute in the 2010 FA Cup third round victory over Barrow.
He was a regular for the reserves and had loan spells at Gateshead, Carlisle and Leyton Orient before joining Accrington last season.