STEVE McCLAREN will not be the next manager of Sunderland.
The ex-Middlesbrough and England manager is not in the frame to replace Paolo Di Canio in the Stadium of Light hot seat.
Chief executive Margaret Byrne has confirmed that Sunderland are taking their time in the search for a successor to Di Canio.
The Black Cats have held talks with several candidates vying to become the new Sunderland boss, including front-runner Gus Poyet and former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen.
But chairman Ellis Short, who was at the Stadium of Light to watch yesterday’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, is keen to ensure that Sunderland get the right man to improve the fortunes of a side rooted to the bottom of the table, and the club are performing due diligence on the various contenders.
Byrne says no deadline has been set to appoint a new head coach, with caretaker boss Kevin Ball potentially taking charge of this Saturday’s teatime visit of Manchester United.
“Clearly, as a matter of priority, our efforts are presently focused on appointing a new head coach,” said Byrne (pictured) in yesterday’s matchday programme.
“As you would expect with a position of this magnitude, there has been a lot of interest.
“However, there is no definite timescale on an appointment, as we are carefully examining all of the options available to us.
“We have had contact with some interested parties already and have others to speak to in the coming days.”
There is a feeling from within the Sunderland dressing room that a British manager would be best suited for the role after Di Canio’s volatile stint in charge.
And there is no shortage of support for Ball either, with the Under-21 coach impressing the players during his week in the hotseat.
But despite reports yesterday, McClaren – firm favourite for the newly-vacated Derby County job, following Sunderland-born Nigel Clough’s sacking – is not thought to be a contender.
It is understood that there has been no contact between Sunderland and McClaren’s camp, and neither is there likely to be.