Sam Allardyce has been installed as the bookies favourite to succeed the departed Dick Advocaat, despite big question marks over the ex-Newcastle manager’s suitability for Sunderland’s management structure.
Sunderland are searching for their sixth manager in five years after Advocaat opted against extending his short-term deal at the Stadium of Light and decided to retire from club football.
Allardyce has been linked with the Sunderland post for several months as a long-term successor to Gus Poyet and is now available after leaving West Ham.
But as reported earlier this month, it is not thought that the former Sunderland defender has been among the leading options for sporting director Lee Congerton, as he considered contingency options for Advocaat.
Sunderland are keen to persist with the head coach / director of football system, and believe Allardyce will be reluctant to work under that structure.
However, SportMail understands that the Sunderland job is thought to be one which appeals to Allardyce, even if he claimed last weekend that he would take a six-month break from football after the end of his Hammers contract.
Congerton is an admirer of Paul Clement after working alongside him at Chelsea and seeing his progression to Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant at Real Madrid.
When Poyet was dismissed last March, Clement was among Sunderland’s leading choices to take charge of the club long-term.
But Clement is now on the verge of being appointed as Steve McClaren’s successor at Derby, while Sunderland have harboured reservations over the 43-year-old’s lack of front-line managerial experience and believe that is now necessary after so much upheaval at the club over recent seasons.
The likes of Steve McClaren and David Moyes would fulfil that criteria and are also among the leading contenders with the bookmakers, while Burnley boss Sean Dyche could be an outside bet.
Dyche was among the options that Short considered prior to the appointment of Poyet, and has subsequently enhanced his reputation, despite Burnley’s relegation from the Premier League this season.
Sunderland, along with Newcastle, have also been linked with Watford boss Slavisa Jokanovic over recent weeks, with the former Chelsea midfielder on the verge of leaving Vicarage Road.
Jokanovic has been unable to agree a new contract with Watford, despite leading the Hornets to promotion to the Premier League.