SUNDERLAND are closing in on the appointment of former Rangers and QPR boss Michael Beale as their new head coach.

Having held a preliminary discussion with Beale earlier this week, Black Cats owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and sporting director Kristjaan Speakman conducted further talks with the 43-year-old earlier today.

That second round of talks went well, with Beale close to being formally confirmed as the permanent successor to Tony Mowbray, who was dismissed earlier this week.

Interim boss Mike Dodds will remain in charge for tomorrow afternoon’s Championship game at Bristol City, although there is a chance that Beale could be watching on from the stands at Ashton Gate.

Dodds will remain a key part of Sunderland’ backroom set-up, along with first-team coach Michael Proctor, who has been in the dugout alongside him for the Black Cats’ recent wins over West Brom and Leeds United.

Louis-Dreyfus and Speakman have spoken to a number of potential candidates in the wake of Mowbray’s departure, most notably Will Still, the head coach of French club Reims, and Kim Hellberg, who was appointed as the new boss of Swedish side Hammarby earlier this week.

However, they appear to have settled on Beale, who will be desperate to resurrect his reputation following his sacking from Rangers in October.

A youth player with Charlton Athletic, Beale’s playing career came to an end when he was just 21. He set up a futsal club in South London, which brought him to the attention of Chelsea and earned him a job in the Blues’ academy.

He then moved on to Liverpool’s youth set-up, where he rose to take charge of the Under-21s, and followed Steven Gerrard to Rangers where he worked as a first-team coach.

Beale followed Gerrard to Aston Villa, and took up his first role as a head coach when he was placed in charge of Championship side QPR in the summer of 2022.

He briefly took QPR to the top of the table, and turned down the option of a move into the Premier League with Wolves in order to remain at Loftus Road.

However, he jumped ship to head to Scotland in November 22 after being offered the managerial role at Rangers. His year-long spell at Ibrox was regarded as something of a disappointment, and he was dismissed after losing three of Rangers’ first seven league matches this season.

Beale is also understood to have held talks with Stoke City in the last few days, with the Potters looking for a new boss following the dismissal of former Sunderland manager Alex Neil.