According to Alan Nixon writing in The Sun, Sunderland boss Simon Grayson is seeking to freshen up his backroom at the Stadium of Light by luring Preston No. 2 Steve Thompson to Wearside.
With early results way below what was expected from the Black Cats boss since his summer arrival from Deepdale, the report suggests Grayson will turn to the man he worked with at Preston and Blackpool to bring new ideas onto the Sunderland training pitch.
Grayson has been rocked recently by the sudden illness of his deputy at Sunderland Glynn Snodin who was rushed to hospital following the 1-1 draw with Hull last month. The former Leeds midfielder may yet be confined to a spell on the sidelines to recover his health.
The absence of Snodin was noted in the recent 2017/18 squad photo released by the club, with the assistant manager’s head photoshopped onto the body of a suitable stand-in.
The rest of Grayson’s first team staff are made up of first team coach Robbie Stockdale alongside goalkeeping trainer Adrian Tucker. Elliot Dickman is the other senior member of the backroom as Under-23 boss.
Former club stalwart Paul Bracewell departed the Stadium of Light in June following the exit of David Moyes having been assistant since Dick Advocaat was in charge and first team coach prior.
Thompson would bring with him a wealth of experience since beginning his coaching career in 2005. The former Bolton and Leicester midfielder began his backroom path as youth team coach at Blackpool before being appointed as Grayson’s second-in-command at Bloomfield Road.
The 52-year-old enjoyed three spells as caretaker with the Tangerines, first when Grayson left for Leeds in 2008, then three-and-a-half years later following Ian Holloway’s exit for Crystal Palace and latterly after Michael Appleton was snapped up by Blackburn Rovers in 2013.
Grayson and Thompson have a long association having followed each other around assorted clubs including Huddersfield and Leeds United with various overlap before reuniting at Preston two years ago.
Whether the Oldham-born coach would be willing to swap sixth-placed Preston for second-bottom Sunderland remains to be seen of course. Thompson temporarily oversaw the Lilywhites early pre-season preparations when Grayson left for the north-east before Alex Neil was appointed.