FORMER Bolton boss Phil Parkinson has agreed to become the new Sunderland manager and will be appointed within the next 24 hours. 

An agreement with Parkinson, who spent a large part of his youth growing up on Teesside, was reached after it emerged Gareth Ainsworth was no longer in the running to be Jack Ross' successor. 

Parkinson is now expected to take charge of training on Thursday and will have Steve Parkin as his No 2. 

Wigan manager Paul Cook had also been of interest to the Black Cats hierarchy but Parkinson’s availability after leaving Bolton Wanderers made him the easier deal to conclude.

It is more than a week since Sunderland owner Stewart Donald acted to sack Ross after 16 months in charge and the club’s recruitment team has since worked on a shortlist to replace him.

Ainsworth, Parkinson and Cook, as well as Burton boss Nigel Clough, are understood to have been under most consideration after talks with ex-Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel and Nigel Pearson didn’t develop further.

Sources close to Wycombe have suggested Ainsworth, whose side sit second in League One after a fine start to the season, looks certain to stay at Adams Park after being considered by both Sunderland and Millwall. He is expected to be in charge of Wycombe against Sunderland this Saturday.

He was one of three candidates in the frame at Millwall along with Gary Rowett and current caretaker boss Adam Barrett. He was allowed to permission to talk to the Lions on Monday as well as Sunderland.

Wycombe’s American investor Rob Couhig, who is set to take complete control of the club, hopes Ainsworth will stay on if he does gain control at Adams Park.

"He and I have a great relationship," he said in a video address to fans from the States. "We understand each other very well. I hope it will continue.

"Should the day come when he decides to move we will consult with the best people in the business, consult with you and members of the Trust board and make a decision on how best to go forward."

Wycombe had understood why Ainsworth would be interested in taking on a bigger challenge after seven successful years taking the Chairboys back up from the National League.

Sunderland would be a huge step up for him in terms of stature and it is believed his inexperience at leading a club that size – and how it operates – was one of the reservations felt by Donald.

That is why Parkinson became the front-runner for the post, particularly as Wigan are known to have been reluctant to let Cook go on the cheap. Sunderland-born Clough, who has led Derby before, has been an alternative option.

Donald and the men responsible for drawing up the shortlist – Richard Hill and Tony Coton – have been keen to bring in someone with a track record for success in League One and the Football League.

There is a feeling Sunderland, despite making huge changes to the playing staff over the last three transfer windows, have not been attacking the third tier in a manner they should have under Ross.

Parkinson has three promotions on his managerial CV, including leading Bolton out of the League One in 2017 as well as steering Bradford to the Championship in 2013 and Colchester out of League One in 2006.

The 51-year-old has been hungry to get back into work since leaving Bolton at the end of last season following months of not being paid during horrible times. He is still well liked by both sets of supporters at the two clubs, despite not being renowned for playing the most exciting football.

He is expected to bring in Steve Parkin as his assistant, Lee Butler as goalkeeper coach and former Middlesbrough fitness coach Nick Allenby. Ex-Sunderland midfielder Gavin McCann is Under-18s coach at Bolton so could also be an option. 

Barring a sudden turnaround Parkinson is in line to succeed Ross, and there are reports he is set to earn around £200,000-a year.