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The phrase ‘once bitten, twice shy’ comes to mind.

Sunderland, after all, have already gone down the ‘proven, promotion specialist’ route.

After being handed his P45 on Saturday, Phil Parkinson packed his bags and bid farewell to the Stadium of Light, leaving Sunderland seven points off the top of the table and fearing a fourth straight season in the weeds and the nettles.

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So does Paul Cook simply represent more of the same?

The Northern Echo reports that the 53-year-old Scouser is in the frame for Parkinson’s job. But should Sunderland really hand the reins over to another battle-scarred, lower league boss just because he has won promotion from League One before?

Well, yes.

Parkinson might have struggled to coax the potential out of a talented crop of players that would be the envy of most third-tier clubs, but Cook should not be written off just because his CV shares a few similarities with the former Black Cats boss.

During spells at Portsmouth, Chesterfield and Wigan Athletic, Cook did a superb job crafting a team far greater than the sum of its parts.

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Pompey and Chesterfield won the League Two title under the 53-year-old before Wigan, inspired by top scorer Will Grigg no less, cruised into the Championship back in 2017/18.

Nigel Pearson and even ex-Black Cats boss Gus Poyet have also been linked, but neither can match Cook when it comes to success in the lower leagues.

“Like a lot of big clubs, Sunderland fans are absolutely unbelievably strong good supporters,” Cook tells the Totally Football Show. “So I think any manager that goes in will know the rules quite quickly, you must deliver.”

Clearly, Cook knows what Sunderland need. And he knows how to deliver it too.

Photo by Dave Howarth – CameraSport via Getty Images

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