MIKE DODDS is ready to consider the possibility of leading Sunderland on a permanent basis – but insists his sole focus at the moment is on the next 13 matches.

Dodds will start his third spell as the Black Cats’ interim boss tomorrow when Swansea City visit the Stadium of Light, having stepped into the breach earlier this week when Michael Beale was dismissed.

Unlike in his previous two caretaker spells, the 37-year-old is not leading the team on a game-by-game basis this time around, with sporting director Kristjaan Speakman having already confirmed that he will be in charge for the rest of the season, and that has inevitably led to speculation that Dodds could be a leading candidate for the head coach role on a much longer-term basis.

Clearly, a lot will depend on Sunderland’s results in the next 13 games, but while Dodds did not want to be too definitive about his future ambitions when he addressed the press earlier today, he made a point of refusing to dismiss the notion of remaining in his current position beyond the end of the season.

“I tried to answer it respectfully last time and where I'm at with it is, I'm really respectful of how big this football club is and that there will be hundreds of people who would love to be in this position," said Dodds.

“So, I’m not going to come out and say I don’t want the job, because I’m respectful of the fans first and foremost, I'm respectful of Sunderland as a football club but at the same time, I want to be a head coach one day and I appreciate that my first opportunity might be my last opportunity. So, it's got to be right for me in terms of my process and what I want to do.

“I wasn't throwing my hat in the ring 12 weeks ago and not a lot has changed since then from my perspective. I'm happy to help out and happy to keep working with the players, because I love working for the football club. In terms of my timeline, though, not a huge amount has changed.”

Nevertheless, simply by being in charge for a minimum of two months, Dodds will find himself with a much wider remit than was the case in either of his previous two caretaker spells.

While his primary responsibilities will come on the training pitch, and in leading the team in the 13 remaining Championship matches, he will have to get involved in discussions around recruitment and contractual matters that will be scheduled before the end of the campaign.

That will inevitably give him greater powers and responsibilities, and he will also have to play a leading role in finalising plans for pre-season as well as overseeing the progress and development of the various youth-level teams below the senior squad.

“I’ll definitely be involved in a lot more areas, and that’s not lost on me,” said Dodds. “The first time I took the team, I didn’t expect to take one game, let alone two. The second time, it was clear I would take at least two, and it could go on to three or four.

“This time, there’s a lot more clarity and, from a personal perspective, I’m pleased about that. I know I’m taking the team for a prolonged period of time, and that allows me to process and think about all the wider issues that are important, and not just have to focus on the next two or three games. I know I’ve got 11 weeks’ worth of work.”

Beale’s dismissal came just 63 days after he was appointed as boss, but while Dodds accepts that Speakman and Kyril Louis-Dreyfus felt they needed to make a change, he dismissed the suggestion that his predecessor had been a bad fit from the outset.

“I wouldn’t completely agree with that,” he said. “I’m not involved in all those meetings, discussions and interviews, and I’m sure they spoke to a number of candidates.

“The outcome has been something I didn’t personally want. I didn’t want to be sat here, and if we’re being completely honest, the club wouldn’t have wanted me to be sat here either. The outcome is the outcome no one wanted – Mick didn’t want, and the players definitely didn’t want.

“But unfortunately, sometimes things don’t fit. I liked a lot of Mick’s ideas and I will take some of his ideas, because I think they were very forward-thinking and progressive. But sometimes in life, things just don’t work out. I wish Mick all the best – he was very good to me. I know he’s got a lot of personal things going on at the moment, and I think he’s going to spend some time with his family, which is probably right for everyone.”