Gus Poyet has confirmed his interest in succeeding Paolo Di Canio as manager of Sunderland, with the club weighing up their options before making an appointment.
The former Brighton manager has emerged as the favourite in recent days after Roberto Di Matteo looked to have ruled himself out of the running.
Sky Sports revealed that Sunderland had made contact with Poyet - but talks are believed to have taken a place with a number of parties after the club drew up a nine-man shortlist.
Poyet was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror: "My opportunity to manage Sunderland is there. I'm waiting. Nervously.
"Since the start of the season, I've dedicated myself to watching the games of teams that might call me if things weren't going too well."
Sunderland have been linked with a host of names in recent days including former Middlesbrough chief Steve McClaren, ex-Stoke boss Tony Pulis, and Championship managers such as Paul Ince, Sean Dyche and Gianfranco Zola.
Current caretaker Kevin Ball has already thrown his hat into the ring to take charge - and he insists that he is taking the task he has seriously ahead of their weekend clash with Liverpool.
"I like them to work extremely hard. I'm one of these sort of people who would say, 'Listen, there is a time and a place to have a joke and a laugh. but there's also a time to be serious,'" he said
"If it's their time and they want to have a bit of a laugh, I'll let them do it.
"If it's my time and they want to have a bit of a laugh and it's right, I'll do it.
"But if I felt it was a time to work hard then I would say the same again. I would expect them to be just like that.
"The way I like to do things will stay the same. It is important you get a two way conversation with the team and the players - ultimately, when they cross the white line they have to be buying into what we want.
"I'm possibly only here until Sunday. I will pick what I think is the right team to play the game. But what I'll also do is speak to all the players and I'll explain why.
"Ultimately, some will be, 'OK, no problem!', and others might be quite upset.
"We had one player who was upset he wasn't playing against Peterborough - because he wants to play. It made me feel good because it means I have players that are hungry to play football.
"I explained why [he wasn't playing] to him, and he was happy with that."