O'Neill talks continue
Sunderland chairman Ellis Short's mission to recruit Martin O'Neill as the club's next manager has entered a third day.
The two parties opened negotiations on Thursday evening in the wake of Steve Bruce's departure from the Stadium of Light 24 hours earlier, and continued with a second round of talks on Friday. Those conversations are understood to have remained positive in nature, but the final detail remains to be agreed.
Sources on Wearside are optimistic that a successful conclusion can be reached over the weekend.
Bruce's former assistant Eric Black has taken charge of preparations for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Wolves at Molineux.
The Black Cats will head for the Black Country knowing they need to improve upon the performance against Wigan last weekend which proved the final straw for Short.
As so often before this season, Sunderland started in promising fashion and led 1-0 through Sebastian Larsson's early strike.
However, a controversial Jordi Gomez penalty and substitute Franco Di Santo's injury-time winner, aided by a dreadful error from Wes Brown, condemned them to a third home defeat of the season and ultimately made Bruce's position untenable amid a furious response from the fans.
Black faces the task of instilling confidence within the squad which has been lacking in recent weeks, for the clash with Mick McCarthy's side.
Black told the club's official website, www.safc.com: "Our number one priority is to try and get a valuable away win and three points this weekend. Everyone is fully focused on what is sure to be a very difficult game.
"Mick will have his players up for this, there's no doubt about that. Molineux is always a tough place to go, as we have found out over the last couple of years. Wolves have always been strong at home and there will be no room for letting up on our part."