Sunderland are considering a move for Barnsley boss Paul Heckinbottom as they continue their search for a new manager, HITC Sport understands.
The Black Cats are searching for a new manager after sacking Simon Grayson last week following just 18 games in charge at the Stadium of Light.
Robbie Stockdale and Billy McKinlay have been placed in caretaker charge at Sunderland while the new manager hunt is under way, but they could not prevent Sunderland falling to the bottom of the Championship table after losing to Middlesbrough last weekend.
A number of names have been linked with the vacancy at Sunderland, but Heckingbottom is thought to have admirers within the corridors of power at the Stadium of Light following the impressive job he has done at Barnsley on a shoestring budget.
Heckingbottom guided Barnsley to promotion to the Championship and EFL Trophy final success after taking over at Oakwell initially on a caretaker basis before being handed the job on a permanent basis in the summer of 2016.
The 40-year-old guided Barnsley to surival in the Championship last term in his first full season in charge and despite losing a number of key players and working on one of the lowest budgets in the league he has been able to keep the club competitive with the club currently sitting in 16th spot in the table, nine points better off than Sunderland.
Heckingbottom, who began his career at Sunderland, but never played a competitive game for the Wearside club, is regarded as one the most promising young managers in the country and his profile of doing a good job on a tight budget matches the profile Sunderland are working under.