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Blues contact former Sunderland boss Grayson as search for McCarthy replacement continues

PUBLISHED: 11:27 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:27 16 May 2018

Former Sunderland manager Simon Grayson has expressed an interest in the vacant Ipswich Town job. Picture: PA

Former Sunderland manager Simon Grayson has expressed an interest in the vacant Ipswich Town job. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Ipswich Town have contacted former Preston and Sunderland boss Simon Grayson regarding the managerial vacancy at Portman Road, we understand.

Grayson is out of work after leaving Bradford City at the end of his contract. Picture: PA Grayson is out of work after leaving Bradford City at the end of his contract. Picture: PA

The Blues and Grayson have spoken regarding the position vacated by Mick McCarthy in April, with an expression of interest coming from both sides, although there has been no formal interview at this stage.

Grayson is out of work having spent the final months of last season in charge of Bradford, having taken over in February on a short-term deal after being sacked by Sunderland in October.

Upon departing Valley Parade last week, Grayson admitted it ‘didn’t feel right’ to extend his stay at the club, with a number of sides thought to have already contacted him following his Bantams exit.

MORE: Carayol and Gleeson free to find new clubs as Blues continue manager search

He is known to be waiting for the right opportunity to return to management, with the vacancy at Portman Road thought to be one that appeals.

Ipswich owner Marcus Evans has said he expects to appoint a new boss ‘at the end of May or beginning of June’ and is known to have contacted a wide spectrum of potential bosses as he works to replace McCarthy.

Prior to his move to Sunderland last summer, Grayson spent four seasons in charge of Preston North End, where he guided the Deepdale club through the League One play-offs and back to the Championship in 2015. Current Ipswich striker Joe Garner scored more than 50 goals under Grayson’s management during their time working together.

Once back in the second tier, Grayson ensured his side were competitive despite operating on a limited budget, securing two 11th-placed finishes prior to his move to Sunderland last summer.

MORE: How Shrewsbury boss Hurst stacks up when put up against Evans’ five-point plan

Earlier in his career, Grayson took Blackpool into the Championship through the League One play-offs in 2007, before then leaving for boyhood club Leeds and securing automatic promotion back to the second tier in 2010. His run of promotions from League One continued in 2012, as he led a Huddersfield side including Jordan Rhodes, Tommy Miller and Gary Roberts in their play-off final victory over Sheffield United.

Former Ipswich manager McCarthy and Grayson are good friends, with the outgoing Blues boss full of praise for his fellow Yorkshireman before and after meetings between their two sides.

Town owner Evans has previously taken advice from Paul Jewell when looking to appoint his successor, which ultimately turned out to be McCarthy, with the outgoing boss indicating he would be willing to offer his thoughts to his former boss if he was asked.

Grayson has a string of promotions to his name, most recently taking Preston back to the Championship in 2015. Picture: PA Grayson has a string of promotions to his name, most recently taking Preston back to the Championship in 2015. Picture: PA

MORE: ‘There has been communication between the clubs... but I don’t know anything more’ - Ross on Ipswich links

As the Blues look to appoint just the 16th manager in the club’s professional history, they have been granted permission to speak to St Mirren manager Jack Ross, who remains the favourite with the bookmakers.

Shrewsbury boss Paul Hurst, who has guided the unfancied Shrews to the League One play-off final, former Tottenham and Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood and ex-England midfielder Scott Parker all feature highly in the betting lists.

Another former Sunderland manager, Chris Coleman, was linked with the Ipswich vacancy after he left the Stadium of Light earlier this month, but we understand there has been no contact with either the former Wales manager or ex West Brom boss Alan Pardew.

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