3 players Barnsley's Paul Heckingbottom could target if appointed by Sunderland

Paul Heckingbottom manager of Barnsley looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield United and Barnsley at Bramall Lane on August 19, 2017 in Sheffield, England.

The Barnsley manager is 2/1 to replace Simon Grayson at Sunderland - could the following Aston Villa and Reds stars follow him north if appointed?

Paul Heckingbottom manager of Barnsley looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield United and Barnsley at Bramall Lane on August 19, 2017 in Sheffield, England.

Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom is now as short as 2/1 to become the next Sunderland manager with Sky Bet, behind 5/6 favourite Aitor Karanka.

The former Sunderland left-back has already distanced himself from the role, although he may feel differently if formally approached.

Heckingbottom has worked wonders on a budget at his boyhood team, which could make him perfect for the Mackems.

But if he were to take over, which players could he look to bring to the Stadium of Light?

Here he's worked with, either past or present:

James Bree (Aston Villa)

James Bree of Aston Villa during the Pre-Season Friendly between AFC Telford United and Aston Villa at New Bucks Head Stadium on July 12, 2017 in Telford, England.

Bree was prised away from Heckingbottom's Barnsley in January, but has made just one start for new club Aston Villa in this season's Championship. The 20-year-old has Ahmed Elmohamady, Ritchie de Laet and Alan Hutton ahead of him at Villa Park, and a loan move isn't inconceivable.

Adam Hammill (Barnsley)

Jan Vertonghen of Tottenham Hotspur is challenged by Adam Hammill of Barnsley during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Tottenham Hotspur and Barnsley at Wembley Stadium on...

Heckingbottom's teams often play with out and out wingers, of which Sunderland aren't exactly short. That being said, Duncan Watmore is still on the comeback trail, while Callum McManaman has struggled since his summer move. Hammill, who is out of contract next summer, could be a useful recruit on the cheap.

Tom Bradshaw (Barnsley)

Tom Bradshaw of Barnsley scores the first Barnsley goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Barnsley at Loftus Road on March 7, 2017 in London, England.

Signed by Heckingbottom from Walsall in 2016, Bradshaw has rewarded the Barnsley boss with 14 goals from 39 league starts since then. Six of those have arrived this season and make him a desirable recruit for a club like Sunderland, for whom Lewis Grabban is the only striker to have scored more than one goal in this season's Championship.

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