ALLY McCOIST has confirmed his interest in the vacant managerial position at Sunderland, claiming the club is “very close to his heart”.

McCoist has spoken to Martin Bain about the possibility of taking over at the Stadium of Light, but as things stand, the Black Cats chief executive is exploring alternative options.

Paul Heckingbottom and Michael O’Neill are Bain’s preferred candidates, but with neither manager certain to agree to move to Wearside, McCoist remains in the running.

The former Rangers boss spent two years on Sunderland’s books as a player in the early 1980s before going on to enjoy a hugely successful career in the Scottish Premier League.

He has been out of work since leaving Rangers in 2014, but would jump at the chance of taking over at Sunderland despite the club’s position at the foot of the Championship.

McCoist was a pundit on the Alan Brazil Sport’s Breakfast on TalkSPORT this morning, and was asked whether he was interested in the Sunderland job.

He said: “Of course, why would you not? Sunderland is a fantastic club. It is a club that is very close to my heart.

“I have had season tickets there ever since I left, at Roker Park and the Stadium of Light.

“The North-East is arguably THE place for football in the United Kingdom. I just feel the Sunderland fans, for the first time in a long time, have clearly lost a little bit of heart and a little bit of belief.

“The numbers are dwindling, so it is massively important that Sunderland get it right.”