Sunderland approach Pearson to replace Advocaat

Nigel Pearson has been approached by Sunderland about their vacant managerial position, which was vacated by Dick Advocaat at the weekend.

Having led the Black Cats to Premier League survival last season Advocaat was persuaded to abandon his plans to retire and instead return for a second campaign at the Stadium of Light, but he and his side have endured a horrific run of form. The Wearside club are second bottom of the table, already five points from safety, and are yet to register a win from eight games.

It looked as though they were on the way to collecting a first maximum point haul of the season when they led West Ham United 2-0 at the weekend, but the visitors thought back for a point against a side who were reduced to ten men following the sending off of Jeremain Lens. This was the final straw for Advocaat, who handed in his resignation shortly after the match.

Sam Allardyce, a former Sunderland player and Newcastle United manager, was installed as the early favourite to succeed the Dutchman, but it is understood the 60-year-old isn’t overly keen on returning to the game to face a relegation battle. He is currently in Spain where he is about to embark on a book tour publicising his autobiography, having left West Ham during the summer.

Another experienced – and available – option would be Harry Redknapp, but he has already ruled himself out contention. The 68-year-old, who currently resides on the South Coast, said: “Is there a bus or a train that goes there in the morning? I don’t think there is. It’s a good club. but whoever takes it has got a tough job on their hands because they’re just about short everywhere.”

Other names who have been linked with the post include former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes, but the Scot is understood to have indicated he has no intention of quitting Real Sociedad, at least not yet. Sean Dyche, the Burnley manager, is thought to be on the list of potential options, but it is unlikely sacked Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers could be tempted so soon.

The leading contender certainly seems to be Pearson, who is available after being sacked by Leicester City in the summer despite the impressive job he did in keeping them up last season. According to The Guardian, Sunderland have already spoken to the 52-year-old, who appreciates the passion of North East football having captained Middlesbrough and coached at Newcastle.

Pearson is said to be eager to return to football as soon as possible, and has been approached by Black Cats departing sporting director Lee Congerton. But it is unlikely there will be a decision in the very near future, although ideally club owner Ellis Short would like someone in place before their battle against the drop resumes with visit to West Bromwich Albion on 17 October.

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