Sunderland have opened talks with Sam Allardyce over the vacant manager's position at the Stadium of Light.
Dick Advocaat left Sunderland last Sunday with the Black Cats second-bottom of the Premier League and winless in their opening eight games.
Allardyce, 60, has been out of work since leaving West Ham at the end of last season.
The former Bolton and Blackburn manager had a spell as player with Sunderland between 1980 and 1981.
Allardyce also had a spell in charge of Sunderland's north-east rivals Newcastle in 2007 and 2008.
The Wearsiders, who are five points adrift of safety in the Premier League, are looking for their eighth manager in seven years following the departure of Advocaat.
The Dutchman's predecessor Gus Poyet has already backed Allardyce to become Sunderland's next manager.
"He had an experience before in the North East," said Poyet. "He knows the Premier League inside out and he knows exactly what a team needs to do to stay in the Premier League."