April 19, 2024

Although it was a bold move, Sunderland’s decision to fire head coach Tony Mowbray more than a week ago appears to have been the right one based on the team’s performance.

Owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus did not fire the 60-year-old due to his playing style or the results he achieved; rather, a better fit was required in order to support the team’s philosophy of acquiring young, motivated players and starting them in the starting lineup.

Since Mowbray’s departure, Mike Dodds has stepped into the role of caretaker boss once more, which he did back in 2022 as well when Lee Johnson departed the Stadium of Light, but this time around he has won both of the games he has been in the dugout for.

The Wearsiders defeated West Brom on Saturday afternoon, and they also dispatched Leeds United at home as well on Tuesday evening thanks to Jobe Bellingham’s close-range header, continuing Dodds’ perfect short-term record.

Phillips and Beckford: Dodds deserves more time as Sunderland head coach

Whilst Sunderland’s powers-that-be might be searching for the perfect Mowbray replacement, Jermaine Beckford believes that he has seen enough in Dodds to let him have a little bit longer in the role to stake his claim to be the heir apparent.

“Two wins back-to-back against very good opposition. You have got to say, why not keep him in there for a little bit longer and give him an opportunity to see what happens through December?” Beckford said on Sky Sports following Sunderland’s win over Leeds – via the Sunderland Echo.

“The players have obviously taken to him very well.”

Soccer Football - League One - Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Stadium of Light, Sunderland, Britain - January 11, 2020 Sunderland's former striker Kevin Phillips Action Images/Lee Smith EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or

And Black Cats icon Kevin Phillips echoed Beckford’s sentiments, saying: “My thoughts on it are, why rush?

“I don’t know much about Will Still, he is a decent manager but he knows nothing about the Championship. It is an unforgiving league, it is a tough, tough league.

“Mike knows it, keep in charge, at least until January. Give him the backing to say, ‘you are in charge until January, take your time with the process and see what you can do.’

“Who knows, they might still be in the play-offs come January and he might stay in the job until the end of the season.

“It is a different story if they’d lost these last two games and the players had not given the performances they had.

“He knows the game and is getting respect from the players, for me, keep him in charge.”

Dodds impressive but Still is still the right fit for Sunderland

Will Still

Although Dodds is undoubtedly regarded as a top coach—Jobe Bellingham has acknowledged that the 37-year-old had a significant impact on his career during his time at Birmingham—Sunderland is a competitive team.

Even though Dodds has two victories under his credit, Dreyfus may find it too soon to promote him to head coach; if he continues to win while serving as interim coach until the Christmas break, the decision will be even more difficult.

Talks with Stade de Reims manager Will Still are reportedly underway, according to various sources, including ESPN. Given the 31-year-old’s reputation in his brief managing career, the Black Cats would consider this to be a major coup.

Still seems to be the ideal match for the Wearsiders right now, and the team is correct to keep going for him, but another victory for Dodds against Bristol City this coming Saturday might put a spanner in the works.

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