Former Blackpool boss and current Preston North End manager Simon Grayson has been given permission to speak to Sunderland about their vacant manager's job.
The Black Cats are looking to replace their previous manager David Moyes, who resigned in May following Sunderland's relegation from the Premier League.
Preston said in a statement that, after contact from Sunderland, Grayson, 47, asked to speak to the north-east club.
The statement read: "Preston North End have today been contacted by Sunderland Football Club to ask permission to speak to Simon Grayson in relation to their vacant managerial position.
"Having spoken to Simon, he has asked permission to speak to the Black Cats and therefore the club had no option but to allow these conversations to take place, with a compensation package already guaranteed in his contract.
"Whilst these talks are ongoing, Steve Thompson will be in charge of first team affairs.
"The club will make no further comment at this stage."
Grayson spent four years in charge at Bloomfield Road in what was his first managerial role, before departing to take over at Leeds United.