‘The sooner we get someone in, the better’ - Sunderland FA Cup legend reacts to Alex Neil departure for Stoke

Sunderland’s legendary FA Cup-winning former goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery has called on SAFC’s boardroom bosses to move quickly to replace departing manager Alex Neil.

The former head coach reportedly bade his farewells to staff and players on Friday, before heading to Stoke for final talks on replacing Michael O’Neil and was in the stands at Ewood Park yesterday to watch his new side’s 1-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers.

But as attention turns to who will next seat in the Black Cats’ hot seat, decision-makers are being urged to avoid a repeat of the protracted process which followed the dismissal of Lee Johnson earlier this year.

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“I’m a bit disappointed, to say the least, but we saw how things were going the Friday before [Saturday’s game against Norwich] - I don’t see why he couldn’t have gone after it,” said club stalwart Jimmy Montgomery following the official news of Neil’s departure.

“But that’s what things are like now, they’re not going to be there for years and years and he has clearly had a better deal.

“Sunderland need someone in place before Wednesday’s game and I think the board will be on it.

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Sunderland boss Alex Neil.

“We don’t want the same scenario we had when Lee Johnson left, with three games under a caretaker."

He added: “I just want the best for my football club and the sooner we get someone in, the better, regardless of what I think about them.”

Names in the frame to take over at the Stadium of Light so far include former Middlesbrough and Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray, as well as Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth, who saw his side’s promotion hopes ended by the Black Cats at Wembley in May.

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But whoever takes over, Montgomery is confident they will be taking of a side capable to competing for a return to the Premier League.

SAFC Legend Jimmy Montgomery.

“So whoever comes in has a great squad, a squad which battles for Sunderland and who will battle for the next manager.”