Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has insisted he will appoint who he thinks is the right man for the vacant manager's job - regardless of their background.
The Irishman and his fellow directors have drawn up a shortlist of candidates to succeed Roy Keane and are expected to begin the recruitment process in earnest over the next few days.
Writing in his programme notes, Quinn said: "In the best interests of the club, I have to have an open mind when it comes to appointing the right person."
He added: "I won't be closing the door on anyone because of who they have or haven't played for or managed.
"I have only got to look out of my office window at the statue of Bob Stokoe to see that.
"Bob was a former Newcastle player, but was very definitely the right man at the right time for Sunderland.
"What we need for the manager's job here is ability, so negatives about where people have come from are irrelevant."
Former Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce continues to lead the way in the betting stakes, although it is understood that while he is a serious candidate, he does not enjoy the same level of favouritism in the Sunderland Boardroom.
Rangers coach Ally McCoist is the latest man to rule himself out of the running, following in the footsteps of the likes of Phil Brown, Steve McClaren, Gerard Houllier and Co Adriaanse, although that does not necessarily discount any of them permanently.
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