Michael Beale is in advanced talks with Sunderland over a return to the dugout.

The former Rangers boss has been without a club for two months since being sacked from his Ibrox post.

However, the PA news agency understands Beale is in discussions with Sunderland over the job.

The Championship club have held talks with various candidates since Tony Mowbray's exit this month.

Reims boss Will Still had been linked with the job, however, it appears Beale is now the frontrunner.

It's thought Beale will attend Sunderland's match against Bristol City on Saturday - according to The Athletic - as he nears a return to management.

Transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano has also claimed Beale will make the switch to Sunderland.

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He reports: "Sunderland have reached an agreement with Michael Beale as former Rangers manager will be appointed as new head coach.

"He was the ‘secret’ candidate as Will Still deal was never sealed or closed.

"Announcement for Beale as new #SAFC coach could be today."

Beale was sacked by Rangers on October 1 after a difficult start to the season with three losses in the first seven league matches of the campaign.

On his Ibrox exit, Beale commented: "Thank you @rangersfc to everyone behind the scenes at the training ground and Ibrox, to the board, staff, fans and all the players.

"I will always follow and support the club from afar and wish you every success.

"Now is the time for everyone to unite fully behind Steven Davis and the team in the coming games.

"There is still so much to play for this season and I have a strong belief in this group of players. Thank you and good luck. MB"