Hull said no official approach was received from the FA before the governing body had “informal discussions” with their manager. The club is understood to have been surprised and disappointed to have received no contact.
Despite Bruce being interviewed, the feeling at Hull is that he is being lined up as a potential fallback option should negotiations between the favourite, Sam Allardyce, and the FA break down.
With the FA’s recruitment panel of Martin Glenn, the chief executive, Dan Ashworth, the technical director, and David Gill, the vice-chairman, having interviewed Allardyce and, it is understood, one other candidate in addition to Bruce,matters look may come to a head on at an FA board meeting on Thursday.
The plan is for the head-hunting trio – rumoured to be abroad – to present the case for their preferred successor to Roy Hodgson at that meeting, although it is not clear whether the interview process will be completed by then.
The hope is that everyone on a shortlist also including Jürgen Klinsmann, the southern California-based USA coach, and Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth manager, will have been spoken to before the meeting opens. Howe is in the United States on a pre-season tour with Bournemouth and not scheduled to return to England until Friday. As of Tuesday afternoon the USA federation had received no formal request to speak to Klinsmann.
If the FA is ready to move into the next phase of its search it is not inconceivable that the new man’s appointment could be all but rubber-stamped on Thursday. Although the board does not have a casting vote, its 12 members will inevitably influence the decision.
Hull would like a swift resolution, though they are not exploring alternatives. “The club can confirm that manager Steve Bruce has held informal discussions regarding the England vacancy, although no official approach has been received from the FA,” Hull said in a statement. “We would hope to see the FA conclude their business quickly in order to avoid further speculation regarding Steve ahead of what is a season of huge importance for the club following our return to the Premier League.”
Sunderland want a similarly quick outcome. Ellis Short, the club’s owner, is said to be fuming at the state of limbo at the Stadium of Light which appears to be exerting a detrimental effect on pre-season plans.
Short – who is making contingency plans for Allardyce’s departure, with David Moyes in a strong position potentially to succeed him as manager – had hoped that the matter would be finalised by the end of this week but it could now be early next week before negotiations are completed and an appointment finalised.
On Tuesday Allardyce gave evidence via video link for a crown court case relating to an alleged luxury Christmas hamper swindle. It is alleged Allardyce and some of his former West Ham United players were conned out of thousands of pounds.
On Tuesday night Sunderland’s manager is due to watch his club’s young players participate in a friendly at Darlington.
Sunderland are scheduled to play a first-team friendly at Hartlepool United on Wednesday evening and there remains some debate as to whether Allardyce will be in the dugout or will elect to stay away and delegate managerial duties to his coaching staff. Sunderland officials expect him to attend.
Meanwhile, Howe is believed to have reservations about coaching England at such an early stage in his career. There have been suggestions he could combine assisting Allardyce in the national job with managing Bournemouth but, quite apart from proving logistically challenging, this could present a conflict of interests.
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