Reluctant Quinn will step in to manage Sunderland

Niall Quinn last night dropped a strong hint that he is preparing to become the new manager at Sunderland.

The former Sunderland striker is also due to take over as chairman following the success of his consortium in taking over the club.

Quinn has been leading the search for Mick McCarthy's permanent successor and appears to have now decided to take up the reins himself. Quinn said: "In order to give the team a bit of focus ­ we are two weeks away from the start of the season ­ we need to group together and we hope to announce something positive [today].

"We will have a great chance of going forward and I hope the fans will realise the path we are taking after [the announcement] and start concentrating on football again.

"Things develop for a reason and we hope we are going with the best thing possible for Sunderland Football Club.

"We are a couple of weeks away from the start and the players are really fit. I think the fans have a different feeling to last year ­ it's time to turn the corner and I'll talk more about it [later today]."

The 39-year-old's application to take over as manager had been expected to be ratified by his own consortium yesterday.

Announcing Quinn as manager would afford the fans' favourite almost total control over the Stadium of Light club and end a period of uncertainty following last season's relegation from the Premiership.

It is still unclear, however, over whether Quinn will name the former Sunderland manager Peter Reid as his No 2.

Wearing two hats: Club owners who have also acted as manager

* TERRY SMITH (Chester City)

Bought the club in July 1999 and became manager. After a bad run appointed Ian Atkins as manager, but Chester were still relegated.

* BARRY FRY (Peterborough)

The famously colourful Fry took over in 1996 and stayed in the dual role until 2005. He guided them to one promotion and two relegations.

* RON NOADES (Brentford)

Having sold Crystal Palace to Mark Goldberg for £22m, Noades took over Brentford in 1998. In his first season he led them to promotion to League One, picking up two manager of the month awards en route. He stepped down midway through the 2000/1 season.

* GRAHAM WESTLEY (Farnborough)

Took over in 1999 and led Farnborough to promotion from the Ryman League. Finished seventh in the first season in the Conference, before leaving midway through the next season to manage Stevenage, taking seven players and his backroom staff with him. The club were heavily in debt when he left.

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