After Sunderland fired Gus Poyet on Monday, the Black Cats are now searching for a new manager.
Word on the street is that American owner Ellis Short wants a temporary replacement to come in and steady the ship between now and the end of the season before making a more permanent appointment in the summer.
So, who’s out there?
The front-runner appears to be Dutch coach Dick Advocaat who could take charge initially until the end of the season, while Steve McLaren has also been touted as a long-term replacement.
[ RELATED: Mourinho says Arsenal in title race ]
Advocaat, 67, has coached the Dutch national team, Glasgow Rangers, PSV and AZ Alkmaar among many others and is currently out of work after stepping down as the manager of the Serbian national team in 2014. As for McLaren, he is the head coach of Championship side Derby County who could well be in the Premier League next season.
Others candidates to replace Poyet in the Stadium of Light hotseat are current West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, who is out of contract with the Hammers this summer, plus Sunderland coach Paul Bracewell and former caretaker Kevin Ball may step up and take charge until the end of the 2014-15 season on a temporary basis. Allardyce would be a good fit for Sunderland but they will have to wait until the end of the season to see if that comes to fruition as the English manager weighs up his options.
Whoever comes in, they have nine games to save Sunderland’s season as they sit just one point and one place above the relegation zone. They are a huge club up in the north east of England who have underachieved in recent seasons, with 14 managers appointed in the last 13 years saying it all.
Here are the Mackems’ remaining games, as they have to win at least four to get anywhere near the magic 40-point marker. Can they do it?
March 21 – West Ham (A)
April 5 – Newcastle (H)
April 11 – Crystal Palace (H)
TBC – Arsenal (A)
April 25 – Stoke City (A)
May 2 – Southampton (H)
May 9 – Everton (A)
May 16- Leicester City (H)
May 24 – Chelsea (A)