Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn is to stand by embattled manager Ricky Sbragia despite rumours Alan Curbishley is to be drafted in, Sportsmail can reveal.
A source close to the Black Cats chief says he is determined to give Sbragia every chance, but accepts there may be a need to make changes if results do not improve. Sunderland sit one place and two points above the relegation zone with six games to play.
The source said: 'Of course Niall is concerned about the position the team finds themselves in but he was heartened by the performance against Manchester United (a narrow 2-1 defeat on Saturday).
'But his patience will only stretch so far. He will be forced to consider Sbragia's position if they lose to Hull on Saturday.'
One possibility is that a more experienced manager will be brought in to work alongside Sbragia, 52, who was a respected coach before taking the reigns from Roy Keane in December.