Sunderland announced the dismissal of Tony Mowbray unexpectedly last night, Black Cats fans and EFL neutrals alike shocked by the Black Cats deciding to axe their 60-year-old boss.

Mowbray had steered Sunderland to a commendable ninth spot in the Championship this season, the former Blackburn Rovers manager had his youthful side within touching distance of the playoff positions even without a prolific striker in the ranks.

The Black Cats hierarchy will now be searching for his immediate replacement to kickstart a sustained push up the league, with a bold left-field appointment potentially already up their sleeve in a bid to appease the stunned masses at the Stadium of Light.

Here are five potential names that could replace Mowbray in the Sunderland hot-seat...

Nathan Jones

Linked with a number of vacancies since his dismissal from Southampton in February this year, Nathan Jones could well want to return to management with Sunderland.

The former Luton Town manager reportedly rejected an advance from Championship side Rotherham United recently, waiting it out for a more notable job offer.

Jones could come in and get his managerial career back on track if he was to help Sunderland win promotion, the ex-Championship Manager of the Season accolade winner instrumental in Luton's rise from non-league to the top flight.

The Welshman could also make the Black Cats sterner, his Hatters teams were noted for being hard to break down and resilient as underdogs.

Steven Schumacher

Sunderland could poach a manager from a fellow second-tier team instead of appointing someone out of work, Plymouth Argyle boss Steven Schumacher potentially enticed by a switch to the Stadium of Light from Devon.

Schumacher has galvanised his Pilgrims team ever since taking charge, picking up the pieces from Ryan Lowe's exit to Preston North End back in 2021 and guiding Plymouth to the League One title in his first full year at the helm.

In the second tier to date after promotion, Plymouth continue to punch above their weight with an exciting, gung-ho approach to games - Schumacher's men scoring 31 times already this season, two more goals than Sunderland currently.

The Black Cats would well attempt to test the waters to see if Schumacher would be tempted by the Sunderland vacancy, a manager who has been in hot demand before with West Brom even keen at one stage on the Plymouth man before appointing Carlos Corberan.

John Eustace

John Eustace is another name also being touted to replace Mowbray at Sunderland, the former Birmingham Cit boss still out of work after harshly being dismissed in October.

Eustace had started the season extremely well with the Blues before being axed for Wayne Rooney to come in, winning five of his opening 11 games in the Championship which included impressive back-to-back home wins over Huddersfield Town and West Brom just before his controversial sacking was made public.

The 44-year-old is relatively unproven in his managerial career elsewhere - previously on the books at non-league Kidderminster Harriers as boss - but the popular former Blues manager deserves another crack at a second-tier job if Sunderland were to offer him an opportunity.

Kevin Muscat

Sunderland could well approach Kevin Muscat for the vacancy, the current Yokohama F. Marinos manager was previously in the running to take over at Millwall and Rangers before both moves never materialised. Still, Muscat would be a good fit for the vacancy at the Stadium of Light.

The former Wolverhampton Wanderers defender turned successful manager has impressed fans in both Australia and Japan with his managerial methods - winning 95 of his 200 games in charge of Melbourne Victory, whilst being similarly successful at Yokohama after Melbourne with 66 wins from 115 games to date.

Muscat could also get the Black Cats firing on all cylinders in attack, his style of play in Japan centres on high-energy football that overwhelms the opposition.

If Sunderland want to go bold and slightly left-field with their next manager whose reputation just keeps increasing in the game, Muscat could well be their pick.

Lee Carsley

It's well known to fans of the Championship that Sunderland are a club that are willing to give youth a chance, the Black Cats coming in with the youngest average age for the division this season in their team.

Lee Carsley as their next appointment would make perfect sense therefore, the ex-Everton midfielder has become a respected coach and manager since hanging his boots up with the England U21s and other clubs.

The 49-year-old helped the young England squad win the European Championships under his management this year, getting the best out of top talents such as Cole Palmer and Curtis Jones in the age bracket.

Carsley could well fancy a change of scenery, and with Sunderland's squad boasting a whole host of future up-and-coming gems in Jobe Bellingham and more, it might be an attractive job offer he can't turn down.

2023-12-05T12:25:21Z dg43tfdfdgfd