It is claimed that Sunderland have been granted permission to speak to the Wycombe Wanderers boss.
Ainsworth has spent the past seven years as Wycombe boss and in that time has accrued an extensive list of contacts.
But which of those on it could follow him to Sunderland, if he does indeed arrive at the Stadium of Light?
HITC Sport has picked out three potential targets...
Jamal Blackman (Chelsea)
It was Blackman's form under Ainsworth at Wycombe that prompted Sheffield United to bring the Chelsea goalkeeper up two divisions to the Championship in 2017. But in his next temporary spell, this time at Leeds United, Blackman suffered a serious injury from which he still hasn't recovered. Once fit, he will spend the remainder of the campaign on loan to Vitesse Arnhem. But he may come onto Ainsworth's radar again next summer, when the contract of Sunderland's current number one, Jon McLaughlin, is due to expire.
Rolando Aarons (Newcastle United)
Ainsworth raised eyebrows when he pulled off the signing of Aarons, a player who impressed for Sheffield Wednesday at Championship level last season, for one of League One's smaller sides. The winger's deal is due to expire in January, which would be Ainsworth's first real chance to freshen up his Sunderland side - assuming he gets the job. Rivalry aside, a move to Sunderland could appeal to Aarons, especially from a geographical perspective. That said, he has played just twice, both times as a substitute, for Wycombe so far.
Fred Onyedinma (Wycombe)
One explanation for Aarons' lack of action is perhaps the form of Onyedinma. The Nigerian winger has scored four goals in nine league outings this season and is one of Wycombe's highest-rated players on WhoScored. He signed a long-term contract at Adams Park this summer, although that may not be an issue for a club of Sunderland's might. The Mackems could lose two of their own wingers, Duncan Watmore and Chris Maguire, at the end of their contracts next summer. Some Sunderland fans will recall Onyedinma scoring against them while on loan to Wycombe last season.
Have something to tell us about this article?