LONDON • Sunderland have urged the Football Association (FA) to accelerate its recruitment process and either swiftly appoint Sam Allardyce as England's new manager or inform him that he will not be Roy Hodgson's successor.
Allardyce was formally interviewed for the post of England manager on Tuesday as the FA's search gathered momentum, but it is understood the governing body intends to meet other contenders - likely to include Jurgen Klinsmann, the United States coach, and Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth manager - before coming to a decision.
With no fixed timescale in place, the possibility of Gareth Southgate, the England Under-21 coach, serving as a temporary stand-in has not yet been ruled out.
The prospect of such a hiatus horrifies Sunderland, who had given Allardyce permission to leave a squad training camp in Austria on Monday to attend his interview at the home of David Gill, the FA vice-chairman and a member of the three-man panel charged with identifying England's new coach.
They had agreed to keep the interview confidential but the publication of photographs of Sunderland's manager emerging from Gill's house at the end of the meeting, which was also attended by Martin Glenn, the FA's chief executive, and Dan Ashworth, the technical director, has prompted the English club to demand a swift resolution.
Although Sunderland accept that Allardyce - who has a year remaining on his current contract - will accept a post that he has long craved if he is offered it, they remain desperate to retain the manager who rescued them from near-certain relegation after succeeding Dick Advocaat last season.
This was made clear in a club statement designed to pressure the FA into action.
It read: "The ongoing speculation over Sam's position is extremely damaging to Sunderland AFC, particularly at this crucial time of the season and we urge the FA to respect the disruption that this process is causing and bring about a swift resolution to the matter."
With Sunderland having just appointed a new chief executive in Martin Bain - who arrived from Maccabi Tel Aviv on July 1 - and still to make a signing this summer, having to potentially seek their seventh manager in five years could not have come at a worse time.
While any negotiations over potential compensation for Allardyce are likely to be straightforward, identifying a successor could prove trickier.
Former Everton and Manchester United manager David Moyes would be among those likely to feature on any shortlist.
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE