Sunderland’s search for a new manager enters a fifth week with no immediate prospect of resolution.
Four weeks to the day since David Moyes resigned, uncertainty over a potential takeover has prevented the arrival of a replacement.
Chief executive Martin Bain will continue the search should a deal to sell the club fall through.
Following Derek McInnes’s decision to stay with Aberdeen, the Black Cats released a statement saying that they could not offer managers assurances and thus would not be resolved ‘imminently’.
The statement also said that any interest parties would have to conclude a deal before a certain time frame.
The Black Cats are aware that further delays will leave the club scrambling to prepare for the new campaign, with the players due back at the Academy of Light in 10 days time.
Sunderland are the only club in the second tier still to confirm their manager for the new season, which begins on Saturday, August 5.
One of the parties believed to be interested is a German consortium which was, at one stage last season, in advanced talks to acquire Hull City.
Any new owners would likely have their own candidate for the managerial position, but should Ellis Short remain in charge then Bain will favour an experienced campaigner to deal with a modest budget and a significant level of player turnover.
One contender would be Paul Lambert, but the 47-year-old ex-Wolves, Norwich and Aston Villa manager told BBC Scotland over the weekend that he is in no rush to return to management and could potentially move abroad.
He said: “I’m fortunate I don’t really need to jump into anything that I don’t think is worthwhile or I think, ‘no, it’s not for me’.
“So, I’ll take my time and see what I can do. It’s been brilliant [in England]. I’ve loved my time down there. I’ve had opportunities to go abroad, which I’ve turned down. I think my time’s probably away from Scotland.
“There’s one or two things I’m mulling over in my head at the moment.
“I’m never averse to anything, but I think I’d rather stay in England or go abroad.”