SUNDERLAND have admitted that appointing a new manager will not be done 'imminently' while there are ongoing talks over the 'potential sale' of the club.

The Black Cats have been unable to persuade top target Derek McInnes to take on the manager's job at the Stadium of Light, and a reason behind his decision to stay with Aberdeen is the uncertainty hanging around.

Sunderland have issued a statement this afternoon indicating the recruitment process is ongoing, but they accept it could take longer than expected while Ellis Short determines how likely a sale is.

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It does go onto say, though, that there will come a point when Short must focus on next season rather than selling up.

The statement read: "Since the end of the season, our focus has been to appoint a new manager. Recently, however, discussions have been entered into with parties who have expressed an interest in acquiring ownership of the club.

"With this backdrop, we have been unable to give the assurances any potential candidate would need regarding the plans a new owner could have for the manager’s position. The recruitment process, whilst still very much active, cannot therefore be concluded imminently.

"In talking to parties who have shown interest in acquiring the club, owner Ellis Short is determined to make sure that the best interests of Sunderland AFC are at the heart of any decision regarding its future.

"We are of course acutely aware of the need to act swiftly to appoint a manager and to ensure that this is the case, have placed a time limit on discussions regarding a potential sale.

"If discussions are not concluded within our defined timeframe, we will terminate the process and move swiftly and positively forward with plans for the new season.

"Detailed pre-season preparations are already in place and our aim is to do everything we can to ensure Sunderland’s return to the top flight."