Sunderland target Gordon Strachan to be new manager
Published 00:00 25/05/09 By Exclusive by Alan Nixon and Simon Bird
Sunderland beat the drop on Survival Sunday - moments before beleaguered boss Ricky Sbragia quit.
And chairman Niall Quinn last night pledged to deliver a "big man" capable of driving the Black Cats to the top of the Premier League.
Quinn, who will oversee Ellis Short's big-money takeover this week, paid tribute to Sbragia and the effort that kept the club up.
He said: "Ricky did his job and got us to survival, and now we can kick on."
A clearly-choked Sbragia added: "It was the right thing to do."
Frank Rijkaard, Martin Jol and Slaven Bilic have all been linked with the job but Sunderland could be ready to make a move for Celtic boss Gordon Strachan in the next few days.
Quinn is keen to land the experienced Strachan to put the Black Cats on the map and his hopes were raised when Celtic missed out on the Scottish title yesterday.
Strachan may be interested in a return to the Premier League after his trophy-laden stint in Glasgow - and the money on offer for new players should appeal to him.
Sbragia will stay on in a coaching capacity but Strachan is expected to bring his trusted No.2 Gary Pendry who has been with him at Celtic and previously at Southampton and Coventry.
Celtic fear an imminent approach for Strachan and may turn to Burnley's highlyrated boss Owen Coyle.
Sunderland had planned to go for Alan Curbishley before the end of the season but his inability to take the post while fighting a compensation battle with West Ham worked against him.
Strachan is now the favoured choice and sources close to him think he will sever his ties with Celtic very shortly.