Sunderland have narrowed down their search for Jack Ross’ successor to two people, according to The Northern Echo.
Gareth Ainsworth and Phil Parkinson are the two clear frontrunners for the vacant managerial post at Sunderland. Stewart Donald is expected to make a formal offer soon with the new manager potentially appointed within the next 24 hours.
Wycombe Wanderers manager Ainsworth is one potential candidate. The 46-year-old has been the manager of Wycombe since he was a player back in 2012. His track record is impressive – guiding Wycombe to League One and now pushing for promotion to the Championship.
Alternatively, Parkinson could become Sunderland’s new boss. The 51-year-old has experience with Colchester United, Hull City, Charlton Athletic and Bradford City. Most recently, Parkinson was with Bolton Wanderers but he left due to their financial instability.
Parkinson is a free agent while Sunderland would have to agree some compensation with League One promotion rivals Wycombe for Ainsworth. Other options – such as Paul Cook, Daniel Stendel, Mark Robins and Nigel Pearson – now look unlikely.
Ainsworth’s success has been impressive but there are concerns here. Firstly, his brand of football is effective but not pleasing on the eye. Secondly, Sunderland would have to pay Wycombe for him. And thirdly, Millwall also want Ainsworth.
Parkinson is the cheaper option and he has some experience of winning promotion from League One. This seems like it could be a sensible arrangement for both parties.