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That's enough about Derek - who's this Tony Docherty? Sunderland's soon-to-be assistant manager

So we've read lots about Derek McInnes as the Aberdeen boss looks set to join Sunderland as manager. But perhaps just as crucially, his trusted assistant from a decade-long partnership, Tony Docherty, will head for Wearside with him. Who is he?

Aberdeen v Celtic - Betfred Cup Final Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Sunderland are expected to announce the appointment of Aberdeen duo Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty within the next 24 hours.

McInnes will become the first manager to arrive at Sunderland with his own backroom staff since Gus Poyet joined in 2013 bringing with him a three-strong coaching team from Brighton.

The Uruguayan's successors - Dick Advocaat, Sam Allardyce and David Moyes - each opted to promote from within or keep their predecessor's assistants in post.

Advocaat lined up Paul Bracewell to take over first team duties and the former Sunderland midfielder was kept on by first Big Sam and then Moyes when they arrived at the Stadium of Light.

But with that ploy proving to have borne little fruit, Sunderland have seen sense and will enable McInnes to bring his assistant from Pittodrie, Tony Docherty, with him.

Tony Docherty

The 46-year-old has been included in compensation discussions between Sunderland and the Aberdeen board and will take up his place on the bench at the Stadium of Light - assuming the pair's appointment is sealed.

The former midfielder who hails from East Kilbride had a short playing career with stints at Cambridge United, Stirling Albion, East Stirlingshire and Albion Rovers.

After retiring early, Docherty took up community development roles before becoming assistant manager to Ian McCall at Falkirk in 2002.

The pair enjoyed some success and when McCall was lured to Dundee United his assistant went with him and landed a coaching role. At the time, Derek McInnes was captain at the club and he was impressed with Docherty's methods even back then.

Docherty with Ian McCall at Dundee United

When former Sunderland defender Gordon Chisholm got the manager's job at Tannadice, Docherty was promoted to first team coach where he remained for four years under successive managers.

Then when Derek McInnes landed his first managerial role at St Johnstone in 2007, he was determined to bring in Docherty as his assistant and so began the pair's decade-long partnership.

Eighteen months later and St Johnstone were back in the Scottish Premier League and so McInnes departed to try his luck in England with Bristol City taking Docherty with him. A further fifteen months and both men had been relieved of their duties at Ashton Gate.

But when McInnes applied for and was successful in getting the job at Aberdeen in 2013, it followed that Docherty would be installed as his number two. Just like their imminent appointment at Sunderland.

Docherty has established himself as one of the top coaches north of the border and has been working with the national team in Scotland assisting the management pair of Gordon Strachan and Mark McGhee.

Noted for his professionalism and dedication to rigorously applying his methods, Docherty has a particular reputation for developing youngsters. Observers of the game in Scotland talk of his humble manner and ability to engage with players.

Described as articulate and insightful, former boss McCall recalls Docherty's 'infectious personality'. Former Aberdeen midfielder Stuart Duff recently described his training ground approach:

He gets very involved in training. He does quite a lot of the drills himself. He's there early setting them up, He'll see the weakness of the team that played on a Saturday and they'll work on things. He's very tactically aware.

Crucially perhaps at a club like Sunderland - which has suffered from a melting point of personalities and attitudes amongst the playing staff - according to Duff, Docherty suffers no fool gladly:

Around the stadium, he demands respect but he's not arrogant. He's approachable, he's well-mannered and well-spoken.

McInnes and Docherty speak of their friendship away from the game and mutual respect. As his profile has increased, the assistant has taken on more responsibility at Aberdeen and features in press conferences and post-match interviews.

Aberdeen v Celtic - Betfred Cup Final
Docherty and McInnes
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

A shrewd move surely by Sunderland CEO Martin Bain in enabling the two men to arrive at the Stadium of Light as a pair? Time will tell of course.

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