MICHAEL BEALE’S appointment as Sunderland’s new head coach is due to be confirmed in the next few days, with the former Rangers boss expected to be in charge for Saturday’s home game with Coventry City.

Beale was not at Ashton Gate at the weekend as Mike Dodds suffered the first defeat of his latest spell as caretaker boss, with Sunderland slipping to a 1-0 loss at the hands of Bristol City.

However, the 43-year-old is understood to have watched the game on a live stream as he prepares to take charge of his first training session at the Academy of Light.

Kristjaan Speakman and Kyril Louis-Dreyfus have identified the former Chelsea and Liverpool youth coach as the right man to succeed Tony Mowbray on a permanent basis, with his track record for developing young talent a key factor in the decision to offer him the head coach role.

Like Mowbray, Beale is set to have a limited input into player recruitment, with the main focus of his new role coming on the training ground as he works with Sunderland’s first-team squad.

Dodds will retain his role as a first-team coach, with Michael Proctor also expected to retain his current position as part of the Black Cats’ backroom staff.

The Sunderland hierarchy have been delighted with Dodds’ work as a caretaker boss, even though Saturday’s game at Ashton Gate ended in a 1-0 defeat thanks to a first-half penalty from Tommy Conway.


“The club have been in dialogue with me throughout the whole process,” said Dodds. “They’ve been really respectful in terms of getting a balance between letting me know what’s happening and letting me crack on with the team.

“It’s seems like an eternity since the process started but with all due respect, the identity of the next manager has nothing to do with me. I’m a coach and want to be out on the grass, working with the players, winning games of football and improving footballers. I wouldn’t want it any other way than how it's been managed.”

In the wake of Saturday’s game, Dodds was quick to defend goalkeeper Anthony Patterson, whose error led to the decisive penalty in the first half of the game.

Patterson played Dan Neil into trouble as he passed out from inside his own area, and then compounded his initial mistake by bringing down Taylor Gardner-Hickman in the 18-yard box.

“He (Patterson) apologised to the group, but I told him he didn’t need to say sorry because the reality is that since I’ve been at the club, he’s earned us lots of points,” said Dodds. “For example, last season he saved a penalty at QPR when the game was in the balance and we went on and won 3-0.

“Goalies won’t get recognition for those moments, but I appreciate that’s a reflection of the industry we’re in.

“There’s no blame that can be laid at his feet whatsoever for the penalty because there were three or four other incidents in the build-up to that moment that went unpunished, but unfortunately for him he was punished. But he’s a really good young goalie and he’s learning all the time, and we’re fully behind him and he doesn’t need to say sorry.”