ROBBIE STOCKDALE and Billy McKinlay have not discussed their position at Sunderland beyond this weekend’s Tees-Wear derby with Middlesbrough, but the former expects the club to appoint a permanent successor to Simon Grayson during the international break.

Stockdale presided over a press conference at Sunderland’s training ground this afternoon, having been placed in joint caretaker charge along with McKinlay in the wake of Grayson’s dismissal on Tuesday night.

The pair will preside over Sunday’s trip to the Riverside, but Stockdale insists there have been no conversations about what happens beyond the weekend.

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However, with a two-week international break following Sunday’s derby encounter, the former first-team coach expects a permanent boss to be in place by the time Sunderland host Millwall in their next home game on November 18.

“Me and Billy came into a meeting with Martin (Bain) on Wednesday, and he said he would like us to take the team for Sunday,” said Stockdale, who started his playing career in the Middlesbrough ranks. “That’s as far as we know.

“I’ve made it clear we won’t want any discussions beyond that. Training has been good. The players are of the mind we have to put a performance on.

“I genuinely haven’t had a discussion about what happens after the weekend, but I would imagine a decision will be made in the (international) break.”

Stockdale revealed that Grayson visited the training ground on Wednesday morning to chat with the two caretaker managers and the rest of Sunderland’s senior coaching staff.

There is a shared sense of disappointment about the way things have turned out this week, but also a determination to draw a line under things and move on with a massive derby game looming.

“It’s been a whirlwind couple of days,” said Stockdale. “We finished the game on Tuesday, a then there was a bit of time between the final whistle and the payers finding out Simon had lost his job.

“There’s been a lot going on, but the dust has settled a bit and we’re fully focused on the game on Sunday. We’ve got a bit of a point to prove and that’s our sole focus.

“Simon came in to the dressing room after the game. There was a decent amount of time. He got his thoughts together, and then he came into the training ground again on Wednesday morning and we had a good hour with the rest of the staff. He was obviously disappointed, and the statement (he issued) says it all.”

Stockdale was promoted to Sunderland’s senior coaching set-up under Sam Allardyce, and sees no reason why the momentum that was generated under the former England boss cannot be recaptured in the future.

However, he admits things went badly awry as the Black Cats were relegated last season, and concedes a certain amount of negativity has carried over into the current campaign.

“We had it going under Sam to a certain degree,” he said. “Last year was a difficult year for many reasons and unfortunately I think we maybe carried a hangover into this year from that.

“I’m not interested in going over the past, all we can really affect is the future. Sunday is the only focus we’ve got, the inquest into how it’s got to this can happen another time.”

James Vaughan and Tyias Browning have been ruled out of Sunday’s game, along with youngster Josh Maja.

“James will be missing, he struggled in the back end of the game on Tuesday,” said Stockdale. “Josh Maja is still recovering and that’s a shame. The other is Tyias. He’s well on the way to recovery but he’s not ready to play yet.”