Waiting game: Sunderland likely to appoint ‘experienced’ manager in this month’s international break

Billy McKinlay has taken joint caretaker control of Sunderland. Picture by Frank Reid
Billy McKinlay has taken joint caretaker control of Sunderland. Picture by Frank Reid

Sunderland will look to name Simon Grayson’s permanent successor in the upcoming international break.

Robbie Stockdale and Billy McKinlay will take temporary charge for the trip to Middlesbrough on Sunday, but, at this stage, an external appointment for the full-time position looks likely.

A club statement, issued yesterday afternoon, read: “Sunderland AFC have placed Billy McKinlay and Robbie Stockdale as joint caretaker managers ahead of this weekend’s Tees-Wear derby.

“The pair take temporary charge after Simon Grayson parted company with the Black Cats following last night’s draw with Bolton Wanderers at the Stadium of Light.

“A further announcement regarding the vacant manager’s position will be made in due course.”

McKinlay does have managerial experience, having taken charge of both Watford and Norwegian side Stabaek in the past. Formerly assistant to David Moyes at Real Sociedad and a scout on Wearside, he recently joined Grayson’s backroom staff following an illness to assistant Glynn Snodin.

After Sunday, Sunderland’s next game is on November 18, when they will look to end their long winless run at the Stadium of Light against Millwall.

The Black Cats are expected to again prioritise experience in their search for a new boss, opting against a Roy Keane-style appointment in the summer and likely to do so again this time around.

Aitor Karanka and Peter Reid currently lead the bookies’ odds, with the Spaniard still based in the North East after a four-year stint at Middlesbrough ended in March.

Reid, who would jump at the chance to return to Wearside 15 years after his initial departure, was also the choice of readers polled online yesterday, as 28% opted for Reid as their first choice, ahead of Kevin Phillips and Karanka.

Alex McLeish and and Ally McCoist, both well known to chief executive Martin Bain after his time at Rangers, have also been strongly linked with the post.