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Next Sunderland manager: Will Still in nine-word response to speculation as surprise name gallops up Louis-Dreyfus reckoning

Reims coach Will Still is being linked with the Sunderland manager's job

Will Still is being linked with the Sunderland manager's job

The favourite for the Sunderland managerial vacancy, Will Still, has delivered a pretty-cutting short, sharp response to speculation that he is poised to become the Black Cats’ new manager.

The Championship promotion hopefuls surprisingly parted ways with the popular Tony Mowbray on December 4, despite being widely heralded for the stellar job he had done on Wearside. Since his departure though, Sunderland have won successive home games, against two sides sat higher than them in the table in West Brom and Leeds, to climb to sixth in the Championship table.

As a result, the job on Wearside is seen as one of the most attractive around, especially given the array of bright young talent in the Black Cats side.

As far as their next manager goes, we exclusively broke the news FIRST that Sunderland were casting their eyes towards France and progressive young English, Belgian coach Still.

The 31-year-old has done an incredible job since assuming the mantle of Reims, leading them on a 17-match unbeaten run last season and steering them to eighth in the Ligue 1 table so far this season.

The easy-to-love Still has admitted he got his taste for football management after excelling at a video game, giving him a thirst for doing the job in real life. Clearly everything he learned from Football Manager has stood him in good stead.

Speculation that Still is being lined up for the vacancy has gathered pace in recent days amid claims that he has held what was described as ‘positive talks’ with Sunderland owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus prior to Tuesday’s 1-0 success over Leeds.

To that end, it was reported Still is in disagreement with Reims chiefs over their transfer policy for the upcoming January window.

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Will Still responds to Sunderland job rumours

As a result, it’s claimed Still wants Reims to provide some financial backing to help the club prosper and potentially push for a European place.

But Reims are seemingly reluctant to spend in the winter window, in the belief that the inflated market can drive up prices beyond their means.

That has all heightened claims that a parting of ways, and a move to the Stadium of Light, could be on the cards for the Belgium-born Englishman.

However, Still has now reacted to speculation that he is favourite for the Black Cats vacancy by issuing a pretty blunt nine-word response.

Firing back at the rumours, Still stated: “You shouldn’t believe everything you read in the press.”

That would indicate Still’s preference may well be on remaining with the Ligue 1 side, and potentially leaving Louis-Dreyfus to explore some other potential options.

New contender for Sunderland job emerges

At the time of reporting their interest in Still, we also revealed that 25-year-old Louis-Dreyfus was also exploring a possible approach for Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna, who has led the Tractor Boys to second in the Championship.

Trailing leaders Leicester by just a point, Ipswich have a 10-point buffer to Leeds, who are currently sat in third.

However, their prospects of luring McKenna away have been quickly snuffed out and we understand the former Manchester United coach is not willing to consider a move.

One name who has galloped up Louis-Dreyfus’ thinking though is caretaker boss Mike Dodds, who has led the Black Cats to two hugely-impressive wins since taking over in a temporary capacity from Mowbray.

It’s not just the results that have caught the eye either, with Dodds’ tactics ensuring a well-drilled performance was able to shut out Leeds United’s threat on Tuesday evening.

As a result, it’s believed Sunderland are giving strong consideration to handing the reins permanently to Dodds, at least until the end of the season.

Prior to the wins over the Baggies and the Whites, Dodds was only considered a temporary option; now, however, it’s believed he’s very much in the frame and could he will seriously strengthen those claims if the Black Cats seal a third straight win under his management at Bristol City on Saturday.

Former Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom, who started his playing career with Sunderland, has also been linked with the vacancy.

Another candidate linked with the job, Kim Hellberg, has reportedly chosen to take charge of Hammarby IF instead.

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