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Roker Roundtable: Wilder, McCarthy, Hurst or Jones - who should be the next Sunderland manager?

Once Sunderland’s takeover goes through, the new owners will need to appoint a new head coach. Who should that man be?

Is that the managerial shortlist he’s clutching?
Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Gav: Nathan Jones

In all honesty there are a number of candidates that have been linked to the Sunderland job that I would be pleased to see - Chris Wilder and Mick McCarthy are just two of them, and for their own reasons I can see the benefit of having both men in place.

McCarthy has worked successfully here before in the Football League on a tight budget, and he gets an extra 10% out of his players that other managers just aren’t able to. The Yorkshireman’s players always speak highly of him, and at Ipswich he did fantastically to sustain them with virtually no money to spend.

Wilder has an attractive track record and, like McCarthy, he’s a disciplinarian that has fantastic man-management skills - the type of fella that would not only kick our soft touches into gear but also have them running through brick walls.

That said, they are ‘old school’ managers and I think, going forward, Sunderland could really benefit from having a system that not only sustains us in the short term but also the long term.

As such, a more modern approach is needed.

Nathan Jones is a young coach on the up and, whilst he’s achieved promotion with Luton Town, a club the size of Sunderland would undoubtedly tempt him.

Better facilities, a bigger budget, a better opportunity to attract good players, and - most importantly - the chance to really get his teeth into a project which, if successful, will progress his career as a coach immensely.

Jones has Luton playing fantastic football and they blasted through League Two last season, scoring goals for fun as they finished in second place just behind Accrington Stanley.

So whilst I cannot argue with us appointing an experienced coach, I’d just like to see us gamble on a young manager that has earned his stripes under much tougher conditions elsewhere.

Jones is about as good as it gets in that respect, and I’d certainly welcome him as the choice for Sunderland’s next gaffer.

Newcastle United v Luton Town - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Tom Atkinson: Paul Hurst

I truthfully think the root and branch overhaul required at our club is going to take longer than many people anticipate. Financially, we’re still in a bit of a mess - especially when you consider the club’s running costs. Further trimming those down to sustainable levels whilst trying to redevelop an entire club across all levels will be incredibly difficult.

Shrewsbury Town, should they fail to find promotion via the play-offs, could well prove to be the perfect location in which we find our long-term managerial appointment. Paul Hurst has the attributes to be a superb manager, and if his current side fail to make the jump into the Championship, Sunderland need to pounce.

Taking over back in October 2016, Shrewsbury looked set to be relegated; however a mere year-and-a-half later his side could well be on their way up. Working under difficult conditions, Hurst has managed to forge a winning mentality on a budget - Sunderland with a fresh cash injection could prove a bigger task in which he can achieve ambitions of breaking into the Premier League.

Wilder is a great option, but Hurst would also be a fantastic candidate, in my opinion. This is a tremendous journey we’re embarking upon, would Wilder have the same passion and ambition as he had at hometown club Sheffield? It’s a question lurking in the back of my mind. Hurst’s determination to find success, however, seems insatiable.

Northampton Town v Shrewsbury Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

Jimmy Lowson: Chris Wilder

Let’s be honest, now we’re debt free, set for our second instalment of parachute payments and rid of Ellis Short, we should dominate this league.

Even with the chaotic summer ahead, needing to: change first team manager, owner and overhaul 60-70% of our playing squad, we still hold a massive financial advantage over the other 23 jobbers in this league.

The best way to guarantee promotion in my eyes is to hire someone with a history of winning promotions as a manager, who’s coached in League One recently and has a successful track record.

Chris Wilder ticks all three boxes and Sam Allardyce tipped him for the Sunderland job last year. My only reservation is that the Yorkshireman couldn’t get Oxford United out of League Two, but he’s likely evolved as a coach since then.

Ultimately, Wilder’s our safest bet and given our advantages over the rest of the league, why leave anything to chance.

Reading v Sheffield United - Sky Bet Championship

Paddy Hollis: Mick McCarthy

The last time the straight-talking Yorkshireman was in charge at the Stadium of Light, he had very little money yet was able to get us promotion.

McCarthy is the right man for Sunderland at this point in time. He is no-nonsense and he has shown on many occasions that he knows how to work with a small budget.

It might have ended in a whimper, but his time at Ipswich can be viewed as successful, and on two occasions he took the Tractor Boys to the Championship playoffs whilst operating under difficult conditions.

He might have little experience at this level, but in this way he wouldn't be alone on Wearside. He would be adopting a squad, club and fan base who are stepping into the unknown but McCarthy's guile and straight forwardness will be hugely beneficial in what is sure to be an unforgiving league.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

James Nickels: Chris Wilder

For me, there is one interesting candidate with a track record of getting clubs promoted after a rebuild, owing to stable a long-term vision. This man is Chris Wilder.

He won four trophies in just 27 weeks in his first job at Alfreton in the Northern Counties (East) League Premier Division, led Oxford United back into the Football League and almost promotion into League One, and then Sheffield United back to top-half safety in the Championship (even leading at one stage) after successive hundred-point title victories in League Two and One.

All of the above was achieved via a rebuild - somewhat necessary due to each club’s respective financial misfortunes - centred upon the Academy and a total rebuild behind the scenes in order to accommodate this.

Wilder hasn’t carried out a bad job anywhere he’s been at, and has been limited by transfer funds at each side - and as a result he relies heavily on youth. His Sheffield United playing squad has one of the youngest average ages in the league and he has handed 17 first-team debuts to academy products in the last three seasons.

He’s angry at the current lack of vision provided by the current club owners at Brammall Lane, who are in a deep argument over the future of the club. It’s clear he’s a man who can back a vision. I for one he’s chosen to lead whatever Stewart Donald has in store whenever the impeding takeover goes through.

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