Sunderland’s search for a new manager is set to reach crunch point this weekend.
Martin Bain took stock of the club’s situation following the departure of Simon Grayson 11 days ago.
The chief executive has spent the latter part of this week assessing the credentials of applicants for the post, and is expected to begin a formal interview process over the next couple of days.
Given the side’s position in the table and the financial restrictions the new manager would be expected to work under, a short-term appointment remains a possibility.
French coach Franck Passi, who has held interim posts at Marseille and Lille and kept them in Ligue 1, is one of a number of names who have registered their interest in the vacant position.
Aitor Karanka, Paul Heckingbottom and Ally McCoist remain the frontrunners for the post.
Karanka would clearly require a longer contract and assurances about the scope for future investment in the squad, having spoken of his determination not to rush back into management after leaving Middlesbrough last March.
Paul Heckingbottom has admirers after a stunning start to his managerial career with Barnsley, and an approach has been weighed up by the Sunderland hierarchy.
Heckingbottom has a 12 month rolling contract at Oakwell but has spoken regularly of his happiness at managing his boyhood club.
The Tykes currently sit eight places and nine points above the Black Cats in the Championship table and ran out 3-0 winners when the two sides met in August.