Next Sunderland manager: Tony Mowbray latest as ex-Middlesbrough, Celtic and Blackburn boss emerges as candidate

Former Middlesbrough and Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray is said to be one of the leading contenders to take charge of Sunderland – yet it’s understood nothing has been agreed at this stage.

The Black Cats will be looking for a new head coach, with Alex Neil set to join Stoke City following talks with the Potters.

Neil was in the stands at Ewood Park as Stoke won 1-0 at Blackburn, with his Sunderland assistant Martin Canning expected to join the Scot at the bet365 Stadium.

It was then reported by Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling that Mowbray will be appointed at Sunderland.

Tony Mowbray during his time in charge at Blackburn. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

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The Echo understands the process to find Neil’s successor is underway, yet Mowbray has not been offered the job as of Saturday evening.

Mowbray, 58, left Blackburn at the end of last season after over five years at the club, in which he won promotion from League One with Rovers.

He has already been at the Stadium of Light this season and was spotted in the directors box for Sunderland’s 1-1 draw against Coventry.

The Black Cats were caught off guard by Neil’s abrupt departure and will now consider who is the best candidate to replace the Scot.

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Still, they will hope to make an appointment sooner than the 13 days it took to replace Lee Johnson back in February.

Sunderland were beaten 1-0 by Norwich at the Stadium of Light in their first match without Neil on the touchline.

The Black Cats will now prepare for Wednesday’s home match against Rotherham, before a trip to Middlesbrough next month.

There is also less than a week remaining in the transfer window, with the club hoping to make multiple signings before the end of the month.

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PSG midfielder Edouard Michut was in the stands at the Stadium of Light during the Norwich match, with Sunderland closing in on a deal to sign the 19-year-old.