Sunderland have been given permission to speak to Wigan Athletic's Steve Bruce about their vacant managerial position.
The Black Cats are on the lookout for a new man to take charge following Ricky Sbragia's decision to step down, with Bruce and Roberto Mancini reported to be their preferred candidates.
Latics chairman Dave Whelan had earlier confirmed: "I have given Steve permission and I think he has spoken with Niall Quinn. Talks are in progress.
"I have asked for a compensation fee and it's only fair that they buy his contract out.
"There are a lot of managers on the market who you can get for nothing, it's whether Sunderland want to pay £3million.
"I don't know if I'm losing Steve. I have said to Steve and Niall to do it quickly.
"The final day is Sunday. Niall has spoken to me and by Sunday night I expect a decision. But I don't want to lose Steve."