Sunderland fans react as ex-Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka is installed as new favourite

Sunderland fans celebrate during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Everton at the Stadium of Light on May 11, 2016 in Sunderland, England.

Aitor Karanka led Middlesbrough to the Premier League and could return to the North East, and the Championship, with Sunderland.

Aitor Karanka, manager of Middlesbrough looks on during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Middlesbrough at Bet365 Stadium on March 4, 2017 in Stoke on Trent, England.

Aitor Karanka is now the 7/4 favourite to take over at Sunderland, per Sky Bet. And this has gone down very well with Sunderland supporters who have been, let’s say, underwhelmed by some of the other names supposedly in the frame.

With The Black Cats bottom of the Championship, embroiled in debt and with just one win in 16 games, one of the most daunting jobs in England appears to have come far too soon for former fans’ favourite Kevin Phillips, not to mention 36-year-old club captain John O’Shea.

Ally McCoist (below), meanwhile, has been out of the game for three years – and the less said about Phil Neville the better.

Rangers manger Ally McCoist during the Scottish Championship League Match between Rangers and Dumbarton, at Ibrox Stadium on August 23, 2014 Glasgow, Scotland.

Karanka, however, not only knows the Championship but has thrived at this level before – at none other than Sunderland’s North East neighbours Middlesbrough.

Though Boro fans weren’t exactly enamoured by a less-than-buccaneering playing style, Jose Mourinho’s former assistant got results on Riverside. Good ones too, with Middlesbrough finishing second in the Championship in 2016 to earn promotion to the Premier League after seven years away.

It would be far too much to expect Karanka to repeat the feat at Sunderland right now but the Spaniard’s ability to organise a defence and make a team far greater than the sum of its parts means he is ‘the fan’s choice’.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka celebrates following the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Brighton and Hove Albion at the Riverside Stadium on May 7, 2016 in...

 

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