Roberto Di Matteo and Gus Poyet, two of the early favourites to replace Paolo Di Canio as Sunderland manager, are both set to rule themselves out of contention for the post.
The Guardian reports that the pair both plan to spurn any approach from the Black Cats, with “Di Matteo, especially, and Poyet apparently lukewarm” about the prospect of replacing the recently sacked Di Canio.
Di Matteo is said to be worried about risking his reputation and his high stock after guiding Chelsea to Champions League glory on such a risky employment opportunity.
Ex-Brighton boss Poyet, still locked in a legal wrangle with his former employers, is rumoured to be concerned about working under director of football Roberto De Fanti, who wields considerable power on Wearside.
The reports go onto suggest that, if bookmakers’ favourite Di Matteo does indeed turn down the job, outsider Steve McClaren could see his odds shorten significantly.
The former England manager was not initially seen as a serious contender for the Stadium of Light job.
But if his rivals turn down what looks like a very tricky role, McClaren might gamble in the hope of being able to rebuild his reputation within the English game.