According to the Guardian, Sunderland have made Steve McClaren their primary target as they look to replace manager Gus Poyet.
Poyet was sacked earlier today after an embarrassing 4-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday, and with just nine games to go, Sunderland need to make an appointment quickly as they lie just one point above the dreaded relegation zone.
The bookmakers have already made Dick Advocaat the favourite to replace Poyet, but The Guardian believe the Black Cats have a plan in place.
They report that Lee Congerton, the club's sporting director, wants to hire a short-term manager until the end of the season before targeting Derby boss McClaren in the summer.
Advocaat, 67, would certainly fit that bill, but the pursuit of McClaren is an interesting one - largely because The Guardian also report that bitter North East rivals Newcastle United also want to appoint him.
53-year-old McClaren has had a long and winding managerial career, including stops as manager of Middlesbrough, England, FC Twente, Wolfsburg, Nottingham Forest, FC Twente again, and now Derby County.
McClaren has certainly rebuilt his reputation since his disastrous spell as England manager, and it seems that Newcastle and Sunderland are ready to go head-to-head in a bid to tempt him back to the North East having already managed Middlesbrough - but much could depend on Derby's promotion bid as well as Sunderland's fight for survival.