clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Probably a good time to bet on McInnes for Sunderland job, but don't put your house on it just yet

Derek McInnes is presently 1/2 favourite to be next manager at the Stadium of Light. There's every reason to suspect those odds will shorten during the course of the next few days as Sunderland's 'preferred candidate' [very short] shortlist takes shape.

Celtic v Aberdeen - William Hill Scottish Cup Final Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes remains favourite to succeed David Moyes as Sunderland manager. In the wake of the Dons last-gasp defeat in the Scottish cup final, the odds of the 45-year-old have shortened from near-evens to 1/2.

Aberdeen v Celtic - Betfred Cup Final
McInnes during yesterday's Scottish Cup final
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

And with Sunderland expected to begin talks with the candidates they've assembled on the next-boss shortlist in the coming hours, now might be a good time to stick a couple of bob on McInnes.

There are several good reasons to believe the Black Cats' have identified the Aberdeen manager above all others to take the reigns at the Stadium of Light. And that's over-and-above his achievements and increasing stock in the game.

During the Ellis Short era, and the American's perpetual cycle of managerial recruitment, Sunderland have tended to single out a preferred candidate and gone after him.

David Moyes was appointed in such fashion, as was Sam Allardyce. Gus Poyet was identified as a clear favourite early in the recruitment process that followed Paulo Di Canio's sacking and Martin O'Neill was pursued with a his-if-he-wants-it mentality.

Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League
The Stadium of Light - presently managerless
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

So there's good reason to believe Short and his chief executive Martin Bain will be concentrating their efforts into luring one man - McInnes - to the Stadium of Light. And the betting markets as at now - Sunday am - largely reaffirm this.

There are only two clear favourites in the next-boss stakes this morning - McInnes and Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough. The next batch of prospective managers have gone out to 14/1, with this tranche including Garry Monk, Kevin Phillips and Paul Lambert all rated as relatively unlikely to land the Sunderland job right now.

And with the Sunderland hunt being led by ex-Rangers boss Walter Smith, there's every reason to suppose the 69-year-old Lanarkshire man will be a vigorous advocate for McInnes.

Rangers v Hearts
Walter Smith is advising Sunderland on their new manager hunt
Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Smith has been appointed by Sunderland chief executive Bain to advise him on candidates and do a little schmoozing to sell them the Stadium of Light job and develop an understanding of their expectations.

The former Scotland manager recommended McInnes for the Rangers post before present boss Pedro Caixinha landed the role earlier this year and it was Smith who signed McInnes as a 24-year-old midfielder during his first spell as Ibrox supremo. The veteran coach said of the prospect of his former charge succeeding Mark Warburton in March:

I'd like someone that was going to being a level of success to the club. I would like to see Derek take the opportunity to do that. I had him as a player and as a manager he has done a good job wherever he is.

It is however perhaps McInnes' own assessment of the situation which is the only factor presently preventing him from becoming an even bigger favourite to switch northern Scotland for northern England.

His clear dismissal of speculation around the Sunderland job ahead of yesterday's cup final and his talking up of Aberdeen's future prospects with him in charge since the final whistle blew, have presently dampened the odds he will take the helm at the Stadium of Light.

Faced with losing a host of his Dons stars this summer after an impressive season, McInnes has been adamant his squad will continue to be a success under him next term. The Pitodrie boss has also insisted he is happy at Aberdeen and that he believes there will be more to come for him there.

Hibernian v Aberdeen - Scottish Cup Semi-Final
McInnes with his Aberdeen players
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

And selling the Sunderland job to any prospective candidate with merit may be a tough task for go-between Walter Smith or Bain himself. The revolving door of nine managers in nine years and the perpetual whiff of scandal at the Stadium of Light do little to portray the hot seat as anything other than a poisoned chalice.

Add to that a huge summer rebuild which needs conducting with little spending money and an expectation that Sunderland will be in the promotion pack in the Championship regardless of off-field issues, and the new man has an enormous task when he is installed.

What may be be of benefit though is Ellis Short's apparent back-seat in this recruitment exercise. The Sunderland owner tends to break everything he touches and his judgement has so often been misplaced in football matters.

The repeated suggestion that he sold previous incumbents - notably Moyes, Allardyce, Advocaat and Poyet - a job prospectus he couldn't deliver on, means Short's approach may be roughly the last thing the club needs right now in this most important managerial appointment in a decade.

Sunderland is a managerial graveyard and after every variant imaginable has tried and failed, an upcoming boss with his stock on the rise would be taking a risk in believing he could be the man to finally restore some pride to this - admittedly - fabulous club with such potential.

If you're fond of a flutter, stick a tenner on McInnes and look forward to treating yourself to a pizza with the winnings next weekend. But don't be putting your house on it just yet.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report