What next for Sunderland after Michael Beale sacking?

Sunderland are on the lookout for a new permanent head coach following the sacking of Michael Beale on Monday. Credit: PA

Sunderland are once again on the lookout for a new permanent head coach after sacking Michael Beale.

The former Rangers and QPR head coach's appointment was quickly frowned upon by a substantial number of Sunderland supporters, following the popularity of former boss Tony Mowbray.

In the end, he lasted just 63 days. Winning four of his 12 games in all competitions before his dismissal, losing his last match in charge to Mowbray's new side Birmingham City.

Beale's assistant Mike Dodds will pick up the managerial reins until the end of the campaign after previously leading the club to two wins in three games when Mowbray was unexpectedly sacked in December.

The decision to appoint the 37-year-old on an interim basis buys the club time to consider a long-term replacement.

Mike Dodds will take interim charge at Sunderland. Credit: PA

As any manager, Dodds has a task on his hands. And for Beale, it was not meant to be.

A 3-0 defeat at home to Coventry City in Beale's first match left many fans believing their worst fears had already been realised and they were further alienated when he suggested the reason they were yet to take to him was because of his London accent.

A disappointing cup defeat to Newcastle United did little to win him any favour but matters came to a head during Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Birmingham, three days after being beaten 1-0 by relegation battlers Huddersfield.

Tony Mowbray's shadow still looms large at the Stadium of Light. Credit: PA

Beale appeared to blank 21-year-old Trai Hume after the defender's 87th-minute substitution, later apologising to the Welsh international after stating he had not seen him approach. However, the footage quickly circulated on social media with a host of theories put forward by Sunderland fans.

The Black Cats squad is made up of a strong core of young talents and hard-working homegrown stars and are capable of playing some of the most exciting football in the Championship on their day.

If Dodds can get the players back onside and showing the kind of form they did under Mowbray then the smiles will quickly return inside the Stadium of Light.

Results will almost certainly follow with plenty still to play for. The club remain firmly within the play-off hunt despite the disappointment under Beale with a gap of four points to sixth easily surmountable at this stage of the season.

Beale leaves Sunderland in tenth place and four points outside the play-offs. Credit: PA

On-field matters must, and will, take precedence again during the interim period but the Sunderland hierarchy and club's supporters can be forgiven for having half an eye on the permanent appointment.

It is unclear whether Dodds would like the job full-time but he will never have a better opportunity to prove his worth.

More established names like Steve Cooper, Will Still and Roy Keane are likely to be thrown around over the coming months but Dodds has the chance to ensure the club cannot look elsewhere.

He has 13 games to make his case, starting in front of the home support against Swansea at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

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