Big questions facing Sunderland hierarchy as they start yet another manager hunt

Sam Allardyce appears an obvious choice, but the powers that be on Wearside need to determine what their ambitions are.

The Sunderland task is a huge one, a daunting one and a pressurised one - but for somebody it is a glorious opportunity.

Despite their warranted tag of perennial relegation fodder - they are, in reality, way beyond that. With their infrastructure and fan base, they are set up to challenge for the top-eight without any issue.

But there is currently something rotten at the Stadium of Light, and not just the attitude of a number of their first-team squad.

Sunderland's hierarchy, namely Ellis Short and sporting director Lee Congerton - who is set to follow Dick Advocaat out of the door - have failed the club.

HITC Sport understands that Short is willing to continue funding Sunderland, but won't be living beyond their means and won't be throwing millions upon millions at the Premier League dream.

Now as the top-flight fairytale threatens to end, Sunderland look like they need nothing short of a knight in shining armour to save them - but it will take someone with the heart of Saint George to take on the Sunderland job and succeed.

Yes, there will be plenty of people who want the Sunderland job, of that there is little doubt, but it is so huge that the man appointed will be the sixth boss in just four years on the banks of the Wear.

And the simple question is, what does Ellis Short want from his new boss? If the answer is simply Premier League safety, then the leading candidate is pretty obvious...Sam Allardyce. It is at a stage now where Sunderland fans do not care about the football, the only thing that matters is staying up.

And whilst nothing is certain in football, Allardyce would be expected to keep Sunderland in the top-flight. I have little doubt in that, and seemingly the club think that too.

If they don't manage to get the former West Ham United boss, then there are the likes of Nigel Pearson and Sean Dyche - but there is only one answer that Sunderland need. If not, then the question will be asked, do they really want Premier League football? Sunderland's fans deserve nothing less, the only issue is that nobody else connected with the club deserves anything other than Championship football next term.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch