Next Sunderland manager: Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman reveals update

Kristjaan Speakman has insisted that Sunderland are not rushing into appointing a replace for Lee Johnson.

The Black Cats have been interviewing candidates this week amid intense speculation that Roy Keane will be make a sensational return to the club.

He is believed to be a candidate of serious interest to the club, but they are understood to have spoken to a number of candidates, including Grant McCann and Alex Neil.

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The club’s Sporting Director has, through the club channels, moved to strongly suggest that a final decision has not been made.

"The difficult thing is there is a lot of speculation, you’re always going to get that at a club like Sunderland, ” Speakman said.

"At the minute, we’re going through our process and we have to be respectful to the candidates within that process, we have to be respectful that for the fans and the club we have to make the right appointment.

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"At the minute we are interviewing, fact-finding on another couple of people

"You’ve got different people with different backgrounds… we are speaking to coaches directly, we are speaking to agents, solicitors who deal with these members of staff.

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Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman

"It’s about trying to find the right match, you don’t want to go on hearsay or perceptions."

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Asked if the new appointment would be on a short-team deal, Speakman said discussions had not yet got that far.

"We’ll have that specific discussion once we’ve got the end of this first part of the process,” he said.

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"At the moment we’re speaking to all the people within the shortlist, looking at the pros and cons, sitting down with the board and the executive team, and making a decision on our next step.”

Keane appeared on ITV as a pundit last night and said this, when asked about the interest: “I’ve made it clear over the last few years that I’d like to go back as a manager.

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"But of course the club has to want you, you have to want to go the club and just as important, the contract has to be right.

“We’ll see how things take shape over the next few days.”