Derek McInnes warned: Sunderland is ‘difficult job’

Derek McInnes
Derek McInnes

Sunderland will step up their manager search this week, with Derek McInnes still the overwhelming favourite.

The Aberdeen boss suffered cup heartbreak on Saturday afternoon as Celtic scored a last-minute winner in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park.

McInnes has been coy on his future since David Moyes’ resignation, but he is keen on the Black Cats’ post and he will be one of a number of candidates likely to talk with Sunderland this week.

The 45-year-old – in charge at Aberdeen since March 2013 – remains the bookies’ favourite and former Norwich City boss Alex Neil believes he would jump at the chance to work at the Stadium of Light.

“I think if Derek gets offered the job he will take it,” he told BT Sport.

“I think he will look at it as a great opportunity for himself.”

Neil, who this season struggled to take Norwich back into the Premier League before losing his job, has warned Moyes’ successor will face a difficult task.

He said: “But it is a difficult job because an experienced manager like David Moyes has chosen to leave.

“The amount of money some of the players were going to be getting paid there for operating at the level you’re going to be operating at then becomes part of the problem.”

“The fact is you can’t move some of these lads on, so you’ve got to try and get the best out of them.

“That can prove to be difficult at times.”

Fellow Scot Paul Lambert is also a contender, with his departure from Championship club Wolves imminent.

Lambert is disillusioned with the role of super agent Jorge Mendes in the Molineux outfit’s recruitment, with former Porto and Valencia boss Nuno lined up to take his place.

That means Sunderland would not have to pay compensation, which could make him a more attractive proposition for the Black Cats than McInnes.

A number of names have been linked with the role over the weekend, including Preston North End boss Simon Grayson and Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock.

The Black Cats hierarchy are known to be looking for an experience manager to stabilise the club as they adjust to life in the second tier.

Warnock, however, seems highly unlikely to be leaving the Welsh capital this summer.

The 68-year-old oversaw a dramatic upturn in fortunes since taking over last year, deciding to leave Rotherham at the end of the 2014/15 season following a remarkable escape from relegation trouble.

One of the reasons he did not stay on in Yorkshire was the distance from his home in the South West, so a Wearside switch is unlikely to appeal.