Heartbreak in the playoff final refrained Sunderland from scripting a return to the Championship following their relegation the season before. Jack Ross retained his role as the Black Cats chief until Tuesday when he was dismissed from his duties despite being sixth in the League One standings.
The Wearside outfit are pretty much in contention to grab a promotion to the second tier, and thus the decision surprised many considering the Scotsman’s impact at the Stadium of Light. But the show must go on, and the management are assessing several options for their vacant managerial role before making the final call.
While the names of ex-Barnsley chief Daniel Stendel along with the Wycombe Wanderers’ Gareth Ainsworth have been surfaced recently, former Bolton Wanderers boss Phil Parkinson has now fallen to as low as 1/10 (as cited by the Chronicle Live) after reports emerged over the possibility of his appointment a couple of days back.
Did Donald Play It Right By Dismissing Ross?
A 2-0 defeat to Lincoln City was Ross’ 10th loss in 75 games in charge as the Sunderland chief. Yet he failed to convince owner Stewart Donald who expected much more from the ex-St Mirren gaffer with League One’s largest budget. Ross, however, had his moments and highlighted the same in an emotional farewell letter (as quoted by the Chronicle Live).
“Finally, I reflect upon two Wembley finals, one league defeat at the Stadium of Light, victories over Premier League opposition [in the Carabao Cup] and an overall progressive record and take satisfaction from them.
“Furthermore, I believe that we rebuilt a spirit within the Academy of Light under the most challenging circumstances at times.”
Although a club of Sunderland’s stature was expected to register an immediate upsurge in the aftermath of back to back demotions, Ross was restoring the stability after years of turmoil and conundrum. Donald should have relied upon the 43-year-old for at least a few more months before taking such a drastic step all of a sudden.
Why Parkinson Should Be Preferred Over The Other Potential Candidates
The 51-year-old former Reading midfielder holds a prolific managerial record in League One. He earned promotion to the second tier in his first season as the Bolton Wanderers boss and retained their Championship status next term despite the transfer embargo imposed by the Football League.
He had some majestic success story with Bradford City before joining the Trotters. He not only guided the Bantams to the League One play-offs but also made it through to the final of the prestigious League Cup defeating Arsenal and Aston Villa. Bradford’s most significant ever win was recorded at Stamford Bridge when they scripted a comeback despite being 0-2 down and registered a 4-2 triumph against Chelsea in an FA Cup fourth round fixture back in January 2015.
Parkinson brought in an exciting brand of football at all of his previous clubs and succeeded in grinding out results under pressure by switching his strategy to a more traditional approach. He should get the nod ahead of Stendel and Ainsworth to accelerate Sunderland’s revival and therefore, meet the owner’s demands.