Quinn still in discussions to iron out details of deal

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Niall Quinn, the Sunderland chairman, hopes to tie up a deal with Roy Keane to become the new manager at the Stadium of Light within days, although it is understood there is still much to be settled before an announcement can be made.

Sunderland refused to add to their initial confirmation that they are in talks with "a high- profile figure" yesterday, although Keane, the 35-year-old former Manchester United captain, has returned to Ireland, where Quinn has spent the last couple of days, from a holiday.

The new manager at Middlesbrough, Gareth Southgate, whose side beat the champions Chelsea on Wednesday night, predicted big things for Keane. "I am sure he will be as successful as he has been as a player. He's incredibly driven and an intelligent guy," Southgate said. "He has got a very clear idea of what he wants to do."

However, the bookmakers are less convinced, with Ladbrokes quoting Keane at 5-2 to leave the club before Christmas.

The Wigan manager, Paul Jewell, warned Keane that his reputation as a player would count for nothing at Sunderland. "It's great to be a great player, but when you are a manager, you are never judged as a player once results start to go awry. Until you sit in the manager's chair, you cannot understand the pressures of the job,"Jewell said.