Sunderland chairman Ellis Short hopes to hold formal discussions with Sam Allardyce over the next 48 hours as he attempts to identify Dick Advocaat’s replacement.

Despite days of speculation, which has seen the former West Ham boss’ odds for the job plummet, there has as yet been no direct contact, with the dialogue between the two camps so far effectively limited to talks about talks. However, Press Association Sport understands Short is now in London and wants to know one way or the other if Allardyce, who is still on holiday in Spain, is interested in the vacancy and, if so, what would be needed to persuade him to resume his career at the Stadium of Light.

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The Black Cats hope to have a new head coach — or manager, depending on the job description presented to potential candidates — in post before their next game, the Barclays Premier League trip to West Brom on Oct. 17. Eight days later, they entertain struggling rivals Newcastle, a fixture which has seen the last three managers pitched into battle with their neighbors in their second game in charge. Sunderland won on each occasion.

But Sunderland are determined not to appoint in haste and get it wrong. If Allardyce, their preferred option, is not keen, they will move on and look to do so quickly.

Sources on Wearside have indicated that there has been significant interest in the job vacated by 68-year-old Advocaat last Sunday despite their parlous league position — they lie 19th in the table and are yet to win a league game this season — although a shortlist of front-runners has been identified. Burnley’s Sean Dyche also interests Sunderland, but the compensation package which would be needed to pry him across the Pennines might prove prohibitive even if he could be tempted away from Turf Moor. Former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson and American Bob Bradley have also narrowed in the betting in recent days, although it is understood neither figures particularly prominently in the names being mentioned within the Stadium of Light.