Sunderland have confirmed that they are in discussions with parties interested in acquiring ownership of the club.
The club have placed a time limit on those discussions as they attempt to land a new manager.
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes decided not to make the move to Wearside on Thursday night amid concerns over the situation at the club and fears that new owners may want to make their own appointment.
The club say they are 'acutely aware' of the need to make a swift appointment and have moved to assure fans that the process remains 'active'.
The club statement read:
"Since the end of the season, our focus has been to appoint a new manager. Recently, however, discussions have been entered into with parties who have expressed an interest in acquiring ownership of the club.
"With this backdrop, we have been unable to give the assurances any potential candidate would need regarding the plans a new owner could have for the manager’s position. The recruitment process, whilst still very much active, cannot therefore be concluded imminently.
"In talking to parties who have shown interest in acquiring the club, owner Ellis Short is determined to make sure that the best interests of Sunderland AFC are at the heart of any decision regarding its future.
"We are of course acutely aware of the need to act swiftly to appoint a manager and to ensure that this is the case, have placed a time limit on discussions regarding a potential sale.
"If discussions are not concluded within our defined timeframe, we will terminate the process and move swiftly and positively forward with plans for the new season.
"Detailed pre-season preparations are already in place and our aim is to do everything we can to ensure Sunderland’s return to the top flight."