BOYHOOD Sunderland fan Martin O’Neill is the favourite to succeed Steve Bruce as manager at the Stadium of Light.
Bruce was sacked on Wednesday after a desperate sequence of results left the club 16th with just two Premier League wins to their name and only two points above the relegation zone.
In total, Bruce won 29 of his 98 matches in charge, drawing 28 and losing 41.
Bookmakers have installed former Wycombe, Leicester, Celtic and Aston Villa boss O’Neill as the early favourite to replace the ex-Manchester United defender.
Bruce’s former Man United team-mate Mark Hughes is also believed to be a front runner.
Hughes has enjoyed good spells at Blackburn, Man City and Fulham, but has not worked since leaving Craven Cottage in the summer.
Former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, who still lives on the Wirral, and Guus Hiddink, who recently quit as boss of Turkey, also figure prominently in the betting.