Sunderland are aiming to confirm the arrival of Tony Mowbray’s longtime assistant ‘within the next 48 hours’

Sunderland are aiming to confirm the arrival of Tony Mowbray’s longtime assistant ‘within the next 48 hours’
Sunderland are aiming to confirm the arrival of Tony Mowbray’s longtime assistant ‘within the next 48 hours’

Sunderland expect to confirm Tony Mowbray’s longtime number two Mark Venus as the club’s new assistant head coach within the next 48 hours. Mowbray was appointed Wearside head coach on Tuesday night and oversaw his first game the following day as the Black Cats beat Rotherham United 3-0 at the Stadium of Light.

But with his predecessor Alex Neil taking his assistant Martin Canning with him to Stoke, there is a vacancy for a second-in-command in the Sunderland dugout and Mowbray wants to bring his own trusted lieutenant to the club. Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman says Venus is at the club for talks and his arrival should be finalized before the Black Cats face Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Monday night.

When asked if he would bring Venus to the club, Mowbray replied: “I would love to, and Kristjaan will know better where that one is.”

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And Speakman added: “The answer to that question is ‘yes’. Mark has been up and running and we are in the final administrative stages as it has moved very quickly over the past few days, hasn’t it?

“We had a conversation with Tony about who he thought was the best person to work alongside him. We’ve always said that we believe a head coach should have someone who understands them, when you’re trying to gain momentum really quickly.

“We will be really happy if Mark can officially join us in the next 48 hours.”

Mowbray and Venus were teammates at Ipswich Town and worked together in management for 18 years at Hibernian, West Brom, Celtic, Middlesbrough, Coventry City and Blackburn Rovers. At Sunderland, they will continue to work with existing coaches Mike Dodds and Michael Proctor who were brought into the first-team line-up by Neil over the summer.

Mowbray said: “The balance is good because both Mikes – Dodds and Proctor – are really brilliant and sharp coaches. Doddsy delivers really good sessions, he drives them with his voice, he’s really positive, and Proc is really knowledgeable and not just about the grass, but also the personality of the players.

“They help me a lot. I think this combination of Mark [Venus] at 55, me at 58, and two young coaches, that’s really good.

“I’m learning all the time and I keep telling them to keep giving me their thoughts, their opinions.”

He continued: “Mark is a very different person to me. We’re different human beings – I’m more sensitive and emotional with my players, whereas he’s really ‘we have to do this and do that’.

“It’s good, and it’s worked for 18 or 19 years at a decent level, and if you add these two brilliant young coaches who have strong opinions and are outspoken, it will be good and we look forward to it with impatience.”

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