Martin O'Neill was on Wearside on Saturday morning as Sunderland edged closer to sealing his appointment as their new manager.
The 59-year-old visited the club's Academy of Light training headquarters with former chairman Niall Quinn as the deal neared completion.
O'Neill is expected to be confirmed as the Black Cats' new boss later in the day after two days of productive talks with chairman Ellis Short.
The Ulsterman was due to meet the players as they prepared for Sunday's Barclays Premier League trip to Wolves, for which he could be sitting in the stands with Steve Bruce's former assistant Eric Black taking charge.
O'Neill would then be in the dugout for the first time next Sunday when Blackburn head for the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland have moved swiftly to get their man following Bruce's departure on Wednesday in the wake of a 2-1 home defeat by his former club Wigan which proved the final straw for Short.
The Black Cats have won just two of their 13 league games to date this season and currently sit 16th in the table on 11 points, just two clear of the drop zone.
They have won just three games at home in 2011, a return which severely hampered Bruce's hopes of establishing the club in the top half of the Premier League.
O'Neill was undoubtedly the fans' favourite from the moment Bruce was relieved of his duties, and his name has been on the lips of supporters for several years as a result of his boyhood affection for the club.
He has been out of work since leaving Aston Villa in August last year following a breakdown of his relationship with owner Randy Lerner. However, he left having enhanced his reputation by guiding the club to three successive sixth-placed finishes.