How will Sunderland's takeover talks and manager delay affect the Black Cats' Championship preparations?
Sunderland have confirmed that their search for a new manager has been complicated by talk of potential new owners at the club.
The recruitment process will continue but an appointment no longer seems imminent as the club had hoped earlier in the week.
The club statement released on Friday evening at least offered an element of clarity for fans but unavoidably, the prospect of a takeover leaves an element of uncertainty.
So how will the Black Cats’ pre-season plans be affected?
The managerial situation
The Black Cats now have to turn to other targets, but their hand will be weakened and a swift resolution is unlikely, depending on what time frame the club have put on takeover talks.
The club is a difficult sell while they progress and while Bain will have to remain active should the talks amount to nothing, he will find it difficult to tempt managers who have stability elsewhere.
Invariably, a change of ownership at a club involves a change of manager somewhere down the line.
Only last season, new owners at Wolves saw Kenny Jackett quickly replaced with Walter Zenga.
New owners at Birmingham City replaced Gary Rowett, who was doing sterling work, with Gianfranco Zola.
In all likelihood, it means Sunderland may well have a greater chance of attracting a free agent eager to get back in the game, regardless of how talks develop in the coming days and weeks.
A takeover followed by new owners appointing their own manager would offer an element of stability and is the outcome many fans will be hoping for.
Should the talks collapse, a new manager faces a limited budget and a very limited amount of time to prepare for the new season. That will be a tough sell.
Transfers and Contracts
Sunderland are still to make their first signing ahead of the new season.
That in itself isn’t too great a concern, with a few second tier clubs in the same position.
The Black Cats are, however, the only side in the league without a manager after Leeds United appointed Thomas Christiansen on Thursday.
That clearly leaves them at a disadvantage when it comes to recruiting players, with some being targeted by David Moyes having already either moved clubs or started the process.
When operating on a limited budget as Sunderland are, sound planning is an absolute must and that is difficult without a manager to drive the process.
Those financial limitations also mean that the Black Cats are going to be reliant on operating soundly in both the loan and free agent market.
The longer Sunderland are unable to make their move, the lower the calibre of player they will be able to target.
In recent seasons, Sunderland have too often been forced to make their interventions in the loan market late in the window, trying to plug gaps rather than strengthen the side with carefully selected targets.
Huddersfield’s promotion last season showed what a difference talent from the top of the Premier League can make when the structure is there to support them.
On free transfers, too, players eager to secure their futures may be put off by the uncertainty at the Stadium of Light.
That applies as much to those Sunderland are hoping to keep as much as those they are hoping to add.
A long season draws ever closer, and every day Sunderland proceed without a manager makes the task that little bit more difficult.
Clearly, a takeover that would release signficant funds would make a major difference to the picture on Wearside. Either way, a swift resolution is in everyone’s interests.