Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes the new favourite to become Sunderland’s next manager

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes

Derek McInnes has emerged as the new favourite for Sunderland’s managerial vacancy.

The Aberdeen boss has built a strong reputation north of the border having led the Dons to three consecutive second-place finishes in the top tier of Scottish football.

He has managed it this year despite the return of Rangers to the top flight, and also won the Scottish League Cup with the Pittodrie club in his first full season in charge in 2014, their first trophy in 19 years.

They face treble-chasing Celtic in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden on Saturday.

McInnes has worked as a manager in the Championship once before, taking over as Bristol City boss in October 2011.

An eight-game unbeaten run saw them escape the drop that season, but he left Ashton Gate in January 2013 with the Robins four points adrift of safety.

He also managed St Johnstone between 2007 and 2011, winning the Scottish First Division title.

Former Rangers and Everton manager Walter Smith, said to have offered advice to Black Cats chief executive Martin Bain on the appointment, is a firm admirer of 45-year-old McInnes, and backed him to take the Rangers job after Mark Warburton’s departure in March.

The cash-strapped Ibrox club instead went for Portuguese boss Pedro Caixinha.

McInnes is the 6/4 favourite with bookmakers to become the new Black Cats chief, although Sunderland are considering a number of names for the post.

Owner Ellis Short promised a ‘period of reflection’ following David Moyes’ resignation on Monday morning and an appointment is not thought to be imminent.

Previous favourites Nigel Pearson and Kevin Phillips are beginning to drift in the betting, with former Leicester and Derby boss Pearson thought to be on a three-man shortlist for the currently vacant Middlesbrough job.

Garry Monk, an early favourite among fans, is set to sign a new deal to keep him at Leeds United tomorrow.