MARTIN O’Neill says the only way he will appoint an assistant this season is if long-term number two John Robertson wants to be part of his plans at the Stadium of Light.
The Sunderland manager has worked without a deputy since taking over the role in early December.
But he told SportMail he’ll be happy to continue shouldering the burden on his own unless his former Nottingham Forest team-mate makes himself available.
“I’ve worked with John in the past and we work well together,” said O’Neill. “He’s followed me around before and he even followed me all the way to Celtic.
“But the way things fell, when I took over the job at Sunderland, his own personal circumstances with his family and their development meant it wasn’t a good time to uproot and come here.
“I think the same situation still applies for the moment and probably will do for the forseeable future.
“I’ve barely spoken to him over the close season - though that’s not unusual - so I don’t know exactly how things stand with him.
“But if circumstances were to change in the future then we’d look at things.
“As things stand though, I’ve no intention of appointing anyone as an assistant if it’s not John.”
SEE Monday’s Mail for full story