REGIS LE BRIS will get the final say over who is appointed as Sunderland’s assistant manager, with Kristjaan Speakman strongly rejecting suggestions that the new head coach will have backroom staff imposed on him.

Le Bris began work as the Black Cats’ new boss this week, but is currently working with the same group of coaches that were employed prior to his appointment.

Throughout the summer, there have been suggestions that the Sunderland hierarchy have wanted to retain control over the backroom set-up, with their reluctance to allow potential head coaches to bring in their own staff potentially handicapping their search for a new boss.

Speakman insists that is categorically not the case, and is working with Le Bris to select and interview potential candidates for the assistant head coach role. Ultimately, though, it will be Sunderland’s French boss making the final decision.

“I think Regis is really keen to have the best, I think his phrase would be team-mates, even as staff,” said the Black Cats’ sporting director. “And he doesn't, at the present time, have a cohort of people that he's worked with.

“That’s probably more to do with his background, and he was really, really clear that he's got a profile around the staffing structure he wants. We're currently trying to recruit another assistant to that profile.


“Then, once we have that assistant in, that will have a knock-on effect, I'm sure, in terms of where we are on the other positions and where we want to expand or where we maybe want to get some additional detail into the staffing structure.”

Le Bris is also getting to know Sunderland’s existing coaches, and assessing the potential expertise gaps within the current set-up.

Mike Dodds, who held the fort as interim boss in the final three months of last season, will continue to play a prominent role, along with fellow first-team coach Michael Proctor, but Le Bris has already hinted he would like to appoint someone with specialist knowledge of set-pieces.

“He (Le Bris) doesn't really know the people we've got here, both coaching staff and wider,” added Speakman. “It's such a connected environment that as soon as you move one piece on the board, you might have to consider all the other pieces.

“So, at the present time, we're going through that process, which is exactly what we did last time with the last head coach (Michael Beale). Just unfortunately, the time caught up with us and we made some more significant changes.”