Belfast Telegraph

Welsh boss Coleman bound for Black Cats

By Damian Spellman

Sunderland expect to appoint Chris Coleman as their new manager within the next 48 hours.

Eighteen days after parting company with Simon Grayson, it's believed the Black Cats have persuaded the man who guided Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 will take up the reins at the Stadium of Light.

And sources on Wearside insist Coleman is the only man to have been offered a contract amid speculation that Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill had turned down an opportunity to manage the club.

It was reported that O'Neill had been approached by Sunderland to take over at the same time the Scottish FA asked permission to speak to the Northern Ireland boss, however club sources are adamant that was not the case.

Coleman's future was discussed by the Football Association of Wales yesterday, but speculation that he could be a contender for the Black Cats had initially been greeted with scepticism after a series of other potential candidates had distanced themselves from the vacancy.

However, chief executive Martin Bain has staged something of a coup to land a man whose stock could hardly be higher despite missing out on World Cup qualification last month.

Coleman will inherit a club in a state of flux on and off the pitch with financial constraints having hampered predecessors David Moyes and Grayson and the Black Cats in danger of suffering successive relegations.

They lie at the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table ahead of today's clash with Millwall, for which Robbie Stockdale will be in charge, and have not won a league game on their own pitch since December last year.

Taking the Sunderland job will mean a return to club management for the first time in five years for Coleman.

The 47-year-old took his first job when 33, managing Fulham after retiring early due to injury.

He took them to ninth in the Premier League but lost his job in 2007 and moved to Real Sociedad.

Coleman spent six months in Spain before returning to England with Coventry but left two years later before a short spell with Greek side AEL.

He was appointed as Wales manager in January 2012, taking over in tough circumstances following the tragic death of Gary Speed.

Success came, albeit slowly, with Wales missing out on the 2014 World Cup before qualifying for the 2016 Euros where he really made his name.

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