With Stewart Donald and his consortium finally taking over at Sunderland, attention now switches to finding a new manager. The new owner has stated that he would like to make an appointment within seven days maximum: “We have to move quickly, we need the manager to have as much of the summer as possible to assemble the squad he has and assess what he has got. I would be very surprised if by the weekend we were not able to tell you who that would be.”
Candidates to Be the Sunderland Manager
Chris Coleman was sacked just before the end of the season after relegation was confirmed. Since then, as with many managerial vacancies, many managers have been linked to the role.
Whoever does take over has a huge task to not only overhaul the squad but to attempt to get the Black Cats back into the Championship at the first attempt.
Here is a look at the current contenders for the vacant manager’s position at Sunderland
This may come as a surprise. The new owners have insisted that they had nothing to do with the sacking of Coleman. Former owner Ellis Short made the decision himself. Stewart Donald has stated that he would not be against speaking to Coleman who expressed his desire to get Sunderland back into the Championship after relegation was confirmed. If Chris Coleman was to be reappointed it would mark a sensational return. Many were surprised when Coleman was sacked and are open to him returning.
After saving St Mirren from relegation when he took charge in 2016, Jack Ross then orchestrated their revival by recently gaining promotion, winning the Scottish Championship by 12 points. This achievement, his attacking style and work with youngsters have made seen him become one of the most highly rated managers in Scotland.
With this being the case, Ross will not be short of offers. He has already turned down Dundee and Barnsley and Ipswich Town have now seemingly set their sights on him to succeed Mick McCarthy. If Ipswich are indeed interested, their position in their Championship should make them a more attractive proposition. Sunderland, therefore, will need to act fast if Ross is the man they want.
Chris Wilder was one of the favourites as soon as the new owners agreed a deal to take over on Wearside. Stewart Donald is reportedly a big fan of the current Sheffield United boss having seen him work at Oxford United and watched as he led the Blades to the Championship and become play-off contenders in their first season. Wilder has been unsettled of late but indications are that he is soon to accept a new deal to keep him at Bramall Lane.
If he is to accept a new deal then this would surely end any interest from Sunderland due to the compensation that would be involved; however, until any deal is complete, there is always a chance that Sunderland could get their man if he is indeed Chris Wilder
Paul Hurst is another man on this list who knows League One well. He is young and hungry and this season has exceeded expectations by taking Shrewsbury Town to the play-off final. With this being the case, any talks between Sunderland and Hurst would have to wait until the outcome of the final has been decided.
Should Shrewsbury succeed then it would come as no surprise if Hurst decided to continue his good work and stay on at Shrewsbury for at least another year. He is also another manager who is being looked at by Ipswich Town.
Alex Rae could be seen as a surprise inclusion on this list. Rae is a former Sunderland player and fan favourite having played for the Black Cats under Peter Reid in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. He is not without managerial experience having managed Dundee and St Mirren. He has also had spells as an assistant at MK Dons, Blackpool and Belgian side Genk.
With Chris Wilder looking as if he will stay in Sheffield, Rae suddenly became one of the new favourites with bookmakers. It would cost nothing to appoint him and he knows the club well but it could be seen as too much of a gamble by the new owners.
The current Leicester City assistant is well known to Stewart Donald having been the manager at Oxford United when Donald was a shareholder. He has built a strong reputation in the game for his coaching and has the benefit of knowing League One well. Whilst manager at Oxford he almost led them to the League One play-offs having gained promotion from League Two. He also led the team to two Checkatrade Trophy finals. “Sunderland is a big club and it’s always nice to be linked with clubs like that. Sunderland is certainly a big job and it’s nice to be mentioned as a potential candidate”