Former Hibs and Leeds United manager in next Sunderland boss race as he becomes top candidate

Sunderland are looking for a new manager and a former Hibs and Leeds United man is in the frame.
The former Hibs boss is said to be in the frame.The former Hibs boss is said to be in the frame.
The former Hibs boss is said to be in the frame.

Sunderland are claimed to have made a former Hibs manager their number one target to become boss.

The Black Cats are hunting a new leader after the decision to replace ex-Easter Road gaffer Tony Mowbray with Michael Beale backfired. They now have Michael Dodds taking interim charge but they want a successor in the long haul after the former Rangers manager's doomed reign.

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According to The Sun, ex-Hibs and Leeds United man Paul Heckingbottom is the man they have identified. The 46-year-old is "top of Sunderland’s wanted list to be their next manager" according to the report after he was sacked by Sheffield United earlier this season, having got the Blades promoted from the Championship.

Heckingbottom had talks on Wearside about taking over from Mowbray last year before the gig eventually was handed to Beale. He ticks all the Sunderland boxes "but that is if he is willing to work with the current regime and way of doing things." They are keen to promote young talent and keep existing staff at the club.

Sunderland is where Heckingbottom started his senior playing days back in 1995 but he never made a senior appearance before his exit. His management career started in 2016 at Barnsley, where he impressed enough to get a shot at managing Leeds United. He lasted from February 2018 to June 2018 before taking over at Easter Road the following year.

An initially bright start in Leith brought Hibs into the top six reckoning but a poor start to the 2019/20 season had him sacked before the year was out and with the club in 10th position. A move to Sheffield United's academy soon followed and he worked his way up to manager.

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