Paul Heckingbottom Is The Right Man For Sunderland And Here’s Why
Now very much solid at the top of the betting market for the job, Barnsley’s Paul Heckingbottom is expected to become Sunderland’s next manager and opinion is divided on whether he is the right man for the job.
Sunderland have now been searching for a new manager for over two weeks and while some see that as a good thing, hoping the club are simply taking their time to ensure they get the best possible replacement for Simon Grayson, it’s also a concern considering the immediate need for change at the Stadium of Light.
Apparently, the Black Cats board are yet to officially establish their first choice for this role and are favouring an interview scenario with several candidates kept under consideration before the bosses make their move for who they believe to be the right man for the job.
Sunderland’s Chief Executive Martin Bain has reportedly been in both Manchester and Leeds, taking part in interviews for this role, with academy manager Jimmy Sinclair also involved in making what is a crucial decision for the club.
Their next choice of manager could ultimately define where the club ends up, with relegation to League One a distinct possibility right now and if that should happen, then the club really would look impossible to sell given their huge debt of around £140m and shrinking income.
Heckingbottom, for his part, is understood to be keen on this role having spent four years at Sunderland as a young player, though he never made a first-team appearance on Wearside.
He has taken Barnsley from the bottom of League One to a stable position in the Championship via a promotion and a winning appearance in the Football League Trophy final and has the credentials that the club appear to be looking for.
It must be said though that managing a small club who keep expectation to a minimum on a small budget is different to managing a very large club whose expectation is very high, meaning patience is not in abundance.
Although Heckingbottom is used to working on a tight budget, he could at least say he had a budget at Barnsley while at Sunderland, it looks increasingly likely that only sales will be on the cards over the next couple of transfer windows rather than purchases.
Despite those negatives though, he has emerged as the number one candidate to all intents and purposes and given the club’s current plight, it’s easy to see why.