Ex-Stoke City and Preston boss Alex Neil 'open' to Sunderland return after controversial exit

Alex Neil is reportedly "open" to a return to Wearside after the sacking of Michael Beale.
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Former Sunderland boss Alex Neil is reportedly "open" to a return to Wearside, according to reports.

Neil joined Sunderland in January 2021, taking over from Lee Johnson after the former Fleetwood Town manager was sacked following a 6-0 thrashing away to Bolton Wanderers.

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The former Norwich City manager guided Sunderland into the play-offs and then to a win against Sheffield Wednesday over two legs in the semi-finals, and then a memorable 2-0 win against Wycombe Wanderers at Wembley.

Neil started last season as Sunderland's head coach but left controversially to join Stoke City back in August, which led to the appointment of Tony Mowbray. The Potters would finish 16th last campaign while the Black Cats would reach the play-offs.

Fast forward to this season and with Stoke City struggling in the Championship, Neil was sacked with his team sitting 20th having lost their last four games on the spin, including defeat to at-the-time 23rd-placed Sheffield Wednesday.

The Black Cats are also on the hunt for a new manager after the club sacked Michael Beale earlier this month. Mike Dodds has assumed interim charge until the end of the season and stands a chance of getting the job full-time, according to The Sun's Alan Nixon. However, Nixon also states that Alex Neil would be open to a return to the Stadium of Light.

Though, it would be tough to see how Neil and Sunderland could work together again given the acrimonious and controversial manner of his departure just hours before a match.