Sam Allardyce is on the list of names that Sunderland are immediately considering to succeed Dick Advocaat at the helm.
Sunderland are on the lookout for their sixth manager in the space of just four years after Advocaat’s resignation was confirmed yesterday, with a much-improved display in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against West Ham not swaying the 68-year-old to remain at the helm.
At this stage, Sunderland are yet to narrow down their search for a successor to one single front-runner, but ex-Black Cats defender and former Newcastle boss Allardyce is a leading contender.
Allardyce was the overwhelming choice of fans on our online poll yesterday.
Seventy-five per cent of fans had Allardyce as their preferred choice, with 13 percent favouring Sean Dyche and 11 per cent wanting former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson.
Allardyce is a free agent after leaving West Ham in May and boasts a successful record of keeping clubs in the Premier League.
The 60-year-old would appear to be interested too after he is understood to have contacted Lee Congerton at the end of last season over the possibility of taking charge at Sunderland when Advocaat’s position was in doubt.
With sporting director Congerton thought to be following Advocaat out of the exit door, that also removes one potential obstacle to Allardyce being appointed after he has previously expressed a reluctance to work in a director of football model.
Ex-Leicester boss Nigel Pearson is another out-of-work option who has a successful survival mission on his CV, while Burnley manager Sean Dyche will come under consideration by Sunderland chairman Ellis Short.
Dyche was on Sunderland’s shortlist prior to the appointment of Gus Poyet two years ago and he was a leading contingency option when Advocaat initially rejected the Black Cats’ advances during the summer.
Sunderland would need to pay Burnley compensation for Dyche’s services though, while is also happily based in the Birmingham area.
One outside bet for the job could be ex-Watford boss Slavisa Jokanovic, who was linked with Sunderland in the summer when his contract expired at Vicarage Road.
Jokanovic has subsequently taken charge of Maccabi Tel Aviv, but sources in Israel have indicated that Sunderland remain interested in the ex-Chelsea midfielder.
Meanwhile, although Advocaat’s departure was confirmed yesterday, there was no word from Sunderland on the future of Congerton, who has been linked with a return to Germany with Borussia Monchengladbach.
It is understood that there was a fall-out involving Congerton after Sunderland’s defeat at Bournemouth a fortnight ago, which was to prove the beginning of the end for both the sporting director and Advocaat.
Congerton is thought to have grown increasingly frustrated by the financial limitations of his role.
His exit is more complicated than Advocaat’s, but his 18-month spell at Sunderland has effectively come to an end.