SUNDERLAND continue to run the rule over a host of managerial contenders, despite the odds plummeting on Gus Poyet becoming the next Black Cats boss.
Poyet dropped to even-money with some bookmakers yesterday to emerge as the firm favourite to succeed the axed Paolo Di Canio.
Sources close to Poyet have also encouraged talk of the Uruguayan being appointed at the Stadium of Light and suggested he is Sunderland’s number one target.
But SportMail understands that proceedings are far from being at such an advanced stage, with Sunderland still considering a host of options to succeed Di Canio after the Italian’s dismissal on Sunday night.
Poyet, a free agent after he left Championship Brighton in acrimonious fashion last May, is thought to be a manager that Sunderland owner Ellis Short admires and the Uruguayan was a strong contender to replace Martin O’Neill in March.
The former Chelsea and Spurs midfielder is also eager to manage in the top flight and is a multi-lingual option for Sunderland’s multi-national squad.
But Short is thought to be making detailed enquiries about a list of possible candidates, that runs into double figures, and whether they would be suitable for the role of Black Cats head coach.
They include Poyet, the likes of Roberto Di Matteo, Gianfranco Zola and Alex McLeish - who have been widely linked with the role, plus longer shots, such as Sean Dyche, manager of Championship high-fliers Burnley.
Sunderland are thought to favour a young, “track-suit” manager, but will not be rushed into making a decision.
After being somewhat forced into the dismissal of Di Canio by the weekend’s player revolt, Sunderland don’t expect an appointment to be made this week.
Caretaker boss Kevin Ball will take temporary charge of Sunday’s visit of Liverpool and there remains the possibility that he could be at the helm for the following weekend’s Stadium of Light clash against Manchester United.