SUNDERLAND are set to appoint a caretaker manager to take charge of Sunday's Tees-Wear derby with Middlesbrough, with Under-23s boss Robbie Stockdale expected to be offered the position.

Stockdale, who spent seven years of his playing career with Boro, is poised to take charge of training for the remainder of the week and select the Sunderland team to line up at the Riverside.

He could be assisted by Billy McKinlay, with the former Scotland international understood to have been approached about a possible interim coaching role.

Loading article content

Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain has been charged with the task of appointing Grayson's long-term successor, but despite last night's dramatic dismissal of the former Leeds and Preston boss, the Black Cats chief does not have a ready-made replacement in place.

While Sunderland's current league position in the relegation places underlines the need for a rapid improvement, Bain is keen to assess his options.

After Sunday's derby, there is a two-week international break, and Bain intends to use the hiatus to complete an appointment.

Former Sunderland manager Peter Reid was the early bookmakers' favourite for a permanent managerial role, into 4/1 from 12/1, closely followed by ex-striker Kevin Phillips.

Aitor Karanka has also been mentioned as a strong contender, and has been backed into 2/1 from 16s with Bet Victor, while centre-half John O'Shea has previously expressed a desire to move into a coaching role.