Sunderland look set to appoint Lee Johnson as head coach to work under incoming sporting director Kristjaan Speakman.
The Black Cats have held talks with numerous candidates this week, with former Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, ex-Huddersfield Town manager Danny Cowley, and former Wigan manager Paul Cook, among those on their shortlist.
Poyet ruled himself out of the running on Tuesday, while Cowley is known to prefer having full control over transfers which might have made working under a sporting director more difficult.
And while the deal has yet to be finalised, ChronicleLive understands former Bristol City boss Johnson is the man Sunderland want to succeed Phil Parkinson, who was sacked last weekend.
Johnson's appointment as head coach would be as part of a new structure put in place on Wearside, with current Birmingham City academy manager Speakman expected to be confirmed imminently in the key role of sporting director.
Johnson, 39, has experience working as head coach at Bristol, where chief executive Mark Ashton was in overall charge of day-to-day football operations - just as Speakman is expected to have a major say in transfer policy at Sunderland.
Johnson spent four years at Bristol City after leaving Barnsley to take the job at Ashton Gate in February 2016 when the club was in dire relegation danger.
He steered the club out of trouble to finish 12 points clear of the relegation zone in 18th place, before enduring a difficult first full season in charge which saw the Robins finish 17th.
But he then oversaw steady improvement, with City finishing 11th in 2017-18, and eighth in 2018-19.
Johnson was sacked by City in July following a run of four straight defeats, with the club going on to finish 12th.
Johnson has experience of working in League One after starting his managerial career in the third tier with Oldham Athletic in 2013.
After two years at Boundary Park, he moved on to another League One side in Barnsley where he spent 12 months in charge and took the club to the EFL Trophy final before taking over at Bristol.