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Sunderland eye big Mowbray upgrade in 4-2-3-1 coach who makes “perfect sense”

Sunderland look as if they’re going in a completely new direction for their next appointment after Tony Mowbray, opting to appoint a fresh and bold manager in contrast to Mowbray’s safe pair of hands and conservative approach from the dug-out.

The 60-year-old had done a commendable job this season and last – steering the Black Cats to the playoffs last term and leaving the club in ninth spot this campaign – but disharmony behind the scenes between the former Blackburn Rovers manager and the Sunderland hierarchy has proven to be another reason behind his abrupt dismissal on Monday night.

The next manager does have his work cut out for him, the promotion hopefuls have an inexperienced and young squad arguably punching above their weight slightly – Mowbray able to have the misfiring Black Cats within touching distance of the playoff spots, despite lacking a prolific and adept striker up top ever since Ross Stewart left in the summer.

If the Black Cats can, however, land this dream replacement for the outgoing manager, the decision to axe Mowbray begins to make much more sense.

Will Still is seemingly the favourite for the Sunderland vacancy now, the eclectic current Stade De Reims boss the new frontrunner for the Championship job post.

Sunderland manager latest

Various names far and wide are being linked to the Sunderland job, with a report from TEAMTalk yesterday revealing that Will Still and Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna are fancied names near the top of an ever-growing short-list.

It would go in line with the Black Cats wanting to try something different with a younger manager in the dug-out, the statement released by the club in the direct aftermath of the sacking stated: “This was a difficult decision to make, but we remain loyal to our ambition and our strategy.”

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Sunderland unexpectedly relieved Mowbray of his duties last night, with a number of managers now rumoured for the Stadium of Light vacancy.

Still could indeed fit the mould of what chairman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus desires when it comes to their next manager, the Belgian manager is certainly unusual and unorthodox in his mannerisms.

But, his stock in the only game is only rising as a 31-year-old with a bright future.

Will Still’s managerial record at Reims

Still continues to excite and enthral Reims fans from the dug-out in France, the once unproven Belgian boss – who notably cites playing Football Manager as a reason for how he got into professional management – has now earned his stripes in Ligue 1.

As manager of the French club, the 4-2-3-1 coach has overseen 33 wins from 69 games in charge. Along the way, Still’s teams have also been known to be potent up top – Reims scoring 102 goals from those matches, one-time Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun scoring 22 of those last season as a key striker under Still.

His most impressive feat however was masterminding an 18-match unbeaten run in all competitions as manager when joining, resulting in football journalist Ed Aarons referring to the much-loved Reims boss as ‘highly-rated’ in the wake of rumours circulating that he will be the next Black Cats boss.

His Reims side are still succeeding in the French top division this season, occupying fifth spot currently above the likes of Marseille and Lyon.

Freelance sports writer Robin Bairner even responded to the rumours by stating that this appointment would make “perfect sense”, a new era kickstarted at the Stadium of Light by a boss who has a far novel approach compared to Mowbray.

Still himself has also spoken of his dream one day to manage in England, stating in a Sky Sports interview earlier this year that he’d be open to Championship job offers – “I think the Championship rivals many of the top leagues in the world. All the doors are open. I’m not closing anything at any time.”

Unlike Mowbray – who has long languished in the EFL across various clubs – Still has more recent and current experience thriving in one of Europe’s top five leagues, thus suggesting that he could be the upgrade required to help steer the club into the Premier League.

Sunderland fans will watch on with intrigue at how this saga plays out regarding a new manager coming in, focusing on this weekend too with hopes that they can beat West Brom without a brand-new boss in the dug-out yet.


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