Heck­ing­bot­tom ‘not yet off­i­cally ap­proached’ by Black Cats

The Chronicle - - Safc -

SUN­DER­LAND are yet to make an of­fi­cial ap­proach for Paul Heck­ing­bot­tom, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

The 40-year-old is one of the favourites for the Black Cats job, which has been va­cant since Si­mon Grayson was sacked a fort­night ago.

And al­though the in­ter­view process has now be­gun, Sky Sports are re­port­ing that the Oak­well club have not been ap­proached about the book­mak­ers’ favourite.

Heck­ing­bot­tom is born in Barns­ley, but be­gan his ca­reer in the Sun­der­land academy. He did not make a se­nior ap­pear­ance for the first team, but had spells with Gateshead, Hartle­pool United, Dar­ling­ton and the Tykes among oth­ers.

In Fe­bru­ary 2016 he started his man­age­rial ca­reer at his home­town club, where he has carved out an im­pres­sive rep­u­ta­tion on a tight bud­get. He won pro­mo­tion in the League One play-offs at the end of his first sea­son. Barns­ley beat Sun­der­land 3-0 at Oak­well in Au­gust, and are nine points above the bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble Black Cats with a game in hand.

Out-of-work Ai­tor Karanka and Ally McCoist are oth­ers who have been linked with the job, and the fact some in­ter­views have ap­par­ently taken place in Leeds sug­gest the Spa­niard – still based in York­shire af­ter be­ing sacked by Mid­dles­brough – may have been spo­ken to if Heck­ing­bot­tom has not. The Daily Star are re­port­ing there is a four-man short­list.

Sun­der­land have won one of 16 games in this sea­son’s Cham­pi­onship, and are there­fore in real dan­ger of back-to-back rel­e­ga­tions.

Rob­bie Stock­dale has been tak­ing train­ing this week af­ter joint care­taker Billy McKin­lay left to join West Ham United on Sun­day.

Sun­der­land’s next game is at home to Mill­wall on Satur­day and hav­ing sacked Grayson in the lead-up to the in­ter­na­tional break, they would surely have hoped to have had some­one in place by then. Club sources are adamant at be­cause the ap­point­ment is so im­por­tant, they are de­ter­mined to take their time, and po­ten­tial can­di­dates might also want to do their home­work af­ter David Moyes ad­mit­ted he re­gret­ted not do­ing his ‘due dili­gence’ be­fore tak­ing the job last sea­son.

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