O’Neill ready for Mackems

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Martin O’NEILL is poised to replace Steve Bruce as Sunderland manager, according to reports today.

The former Leicester, Aston Villa and Celtic manager is understood to have met Sunderland’s owner and chairman Ellis Short in London last to negotiate a deal. One of the key aspects of the agreement is said to be O’Neill’s agreement to the budgetary constraints at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland’s next fixture is a Premier League game against Wolves on Sunday but O’Neill is expected to take charge after that game. The Northern Irishman, whose last managerial job was at Villa Park, has been regularly tipped for vacant posts in the last 12 months and was instantly installed as the bookmakers’ favourite ahead of Mark Hughes.

The Black Cats are 16th, two points above the relegation zone, which led to Bruce’s sacking on Wednesday. The team has won only two of their 13 league games this season.