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Contenders to replace Simon Grayson at Sunderland

Credit: Scott Heppell/EMPICS Sport

Sunderland are looking for their 11th permanent manager in less than nine years following Simon Grayson's departure.

Bookies are already speculating who the Black Cats could appoint to try to save their season in the Championship.

  • Peter Reid

Sunderland enjoyed their best spell under Reid, who twice guided them to seventh place Premier League finishes and remains a favourite on Wearside despite not having taken charge of an English club since his time at Plymouth drew to a close in September 2011.

Peter Reid watches during a Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images

He has both vast experience and undeniable goodwill, but the wisdom of returning to a club at which he has previously enjoyed success is questionable.

  • Roy Keane

Keane enjoyed a largely positive spell in charge at the Stadium of Light during the Drumaville era and has made no secret of his desire to return to club management one day.

Roy Keane currently works with the Republic of Ireland national team Credit: David Klein/Sportimage/PA Images

He has verbally agreed a contract extension in his current role as Republic of Ireland assistant manager, but Martin O'Neill fully expects to lose him at some point in the future.

  • Sam Allardyce

Sunderland thought they had got it right when they appointed Allardyce in October 2015 and saw him guide the club away from relegation.

Sam Allardyce saved Sunderland from Premier League relegation in the past Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/PA Images

He left for a short and ill-fated spell as England manager at the end of that season, but did so having been made aware of the depth of the club's financial woes, and that situation has not improved since.

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  • Kevin Ball

The former Black Cats enforcer is another who is remembered fondly by supporters and has stepped in as caretaker manager on two occasions in the past.

Kevin Ball has taken caretaker charge of Sunderland in the past Credit: Richard Sellers/EMPICS Sport

His passion for and knowledge of the club is a matter of record, but it would be a big step to appoint him to the hot-seat with little frontline experience.

  • Kevin Phillips

A veteran of the Reid side which briefly threatened to break into the top six, Phillips is regarded as a hero on Wearside for the goals he scored in a red and white shirt.

Kevin Phillips is a club legend at Sunderland Credit: Richard Sellers/EMPICS Sport

He has been quietly making his way as a coach since his retirement and has been linked with the vacancy at the Stadium of Light more than once, although he too lacks experience.

  • John O'Shea

A Champions League winner with Manchester United, defender O'Shea also has 115 international caps for the Republic of Ireland to his name, but is fast approaching the end of his playing career.

John O'Shea still plays for the Black Cats Credit: Simon Bellis/Sportimage/PA Images

The 36-year-old has aspirations to manage in the future and although he would command respect in the dressing room, he would be a left-field candidate.

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