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Sunderland next manager odds: Paolo Montero in surprise link, international boss touted

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.

Sunderland sacked manager Simon Grayson last month.

General view inside the stadium prior the Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester City at Stadium of Light on March 5, 2017 in Sunderland, England.

Sunderland's miserable form saw them draw 3-3 with Bolton Wanderers last month – and that proved to be Simon Grayson's final game in charge.

The Black Cats' shambolic defending and crippling home form was on show again against Bolton, and just five minutes after the final whistle at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland announced the sacking of manager Grayson, just four months after prising him away from Preston North End.

Grayson's league record for Sunderland ended with one win in 15 games and 30 goals conceded, and whilst his reign barely got started, most fans feel that it was the right decision.

Caretakers Robbie Stockdale and Billy McKinlay oversaw the recent 1-0 defeat at rivals Middlesbrough, but McKinlay has since left for West Ham United, and it's unlikely that somebody as inexperienced as Stockdale will land the job permanently.

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.

Bookmakers have been offering odds on Grayson's successor as Sunderland chase yet another new manager – and here are some of the main names in the frame tonight with Sky Bet.

Aitor Karanka: 5/6

Former Middlesbrough boss Karanka has been out of work since losing his job at the Riverside Stadium in March, and appears to be biding his time for the right opportunity. The Spaniard took Boro out of the Championship and into the Premier League in 2016, but his side struggles in the top flight, and a return to the second tier could be on the cards. Karanka, formerly of Real Madrid, has been the odds-on favourite for some time now, and remains that way tonight.

Paul Heckingbottom: 5/2

A big mover in recent days, Barnsley boss Heckingbottom has been cut to 5/2 this evening as he continues to be a frontrunner. The 40-year-old spent four years with Sunderland as a player between 1995 and 1999, and has thrived as a manager with Barnsley. Since taking charge of his hometown club, Heckingbottom has helped develop a host of young players, with a win rate of around 33% - and he is the second favourite for the Sunderland job.

Michael O'Neill, Manager of Northern Ireland looks dejected following the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St. Jakob-Park on...

Michael O'Neill: 8/1

Northern Ireland boss O'Neill looks set to leave his post after his side lost their World Cup play-off tie with Switzerland, and a return to club management appears to be on the cards. The former Newcastle ace is no stranger to the North East, and is now just 8/1 for the Sunderland job, with many feeling that he will at least land a job in the Championship after excelling with Northern Ireland.

Paolo Montero: 14/1

A bizarre link has emerged, as Uruguayan boss Montero is now just 14/1 for the job. A former international teammate of ex-Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, Montero has managed Boca Unidos and Colon de Santa Fe, but is now in charge of Argentinian side Rosario Central. The 46-year-old, formerly of Juventus, is building a reputation in South America, but he may be seen as a huge gamble for Sunderland fans.

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