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Future of leading contender for Sunderland job set to be cleared up

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder. Picture by Frank Reid
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder. Picture by Frank Reid

Sunderland remain in a state of limbo with Stewart Donald still awaiting EFL approval for his takeover – but Chris Wilder’s future could be clearer next week.

The terms of a deal have been agreed with Ellis Short and the consortium but it needs Football League ratification before Donald & Co can push ahead with their rebuild plans.

Sunderland are managerless following the sacking of Chris Coleman and players set to be out of contract this summer are still waiting to find out their fate.

Sheffield United manager Wilder remains a leading contender to replace Coleman.

The Blades boss has been coy about his Sheffield United future amid boardroom wrangling at Bramall Lane but there could be a development on that front next week, with their co-owners set for crunch talks aimed at resolving ownership issues.

Wilder had raised doubts over his future recently by admitting a lack of clarity and direction could force him to consider his position.

Blades co-owners Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud are ‘tentatively scheduled’ to meet next week, report The Star.

The other leading managerial contender is Leicester City assistant boss Michael Appleton, who has said he is ‘flattered’ to be linked with Sunderland.

He said recently: “Look, 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. But ultimately, from my point of view, I’ll be focusing everything I do on Leicester City until I’m told otherwise.”

It is understood that there is no set timeframe for when an EFL decision on the takeover will be made, should the governing body be satisfied with the information presented.

The Owners’ and Directors’ test is designed to establish the credibility of ‘relevant persons’ involved in taking control of a club.

It has already been 12 days since the proposed takeover was announced and it could yet drag out further into May. Some takeover deals have previously taken weeks to approve.

The season ended last weekend, bu,t with a huge summer rebuild on the horizon at Sunderland, Donald and Co will be keen to get things moving quickly so they are best prepared ahead of their League One promotion bid.

Gaining EFL approval is seen as a formality for the Donald-led international consortium, especially given Donald’s successful involvement at National League outfit Eastleigh.

Due to dual ownership legislation, he has to relinquish control of Eastleigh and there have been reports that a sale has been agreed, though there is yet to be official confirmation.

The Sunderland squad went their separate ways following the 3-0 victory over Wolves at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

Skipper John O’Shea, 37, Marc Wilson, Billy Jones and January signing Kazenga LuaLua are out of contract at the end of June and they still await a decision on their futures.