The former Aston Villa manager is known to be interested and would be well received -- though his allegiance to Sunderland as a youth could strike a nerve with the hardcore faithful. The 58-year-old has a wealth of experience, taking Leicester to two League Cup trophies, Villa to the competition's final last season, and winning three SPL titles, three Scottish Cups and a League Cup with Celtic. However, he left Villa under a cloud and has a dubious transfer record.
Out of work since he was sacked by Southampton in August, the 49-year-old has been quick to express his interest in the vacancy, a source close to Pardew admitting he "would be strongly interested". Pardew can consider himself unfortunate to have been dismissed from Southampton after he led the League One club to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy triumph in March. He has been installed as one of the bookies favourites.
The former Middlesbrough manager might be best remembered here for his woeful record as England manager, but he has since rebuilt his career in Holland with FC Twente, whom he took to the Dutch title. Although he is not experiencing the same success with Wolfsburg in Germany, it is doubtful whether he would want to return to England. The 49-year-old has attracted all sorts of interest from the Premier League, but has so far chosen to remain abroad.
The former West Ham manager has been linked with practically every English managerial job going since being sacked in 2008. Fancied his chances of landing the Villa position after O'Neill walked but lost out to Gerard Houllier. The 53-year-old can point to a successful 15-year period with Charlton, but he was exposed at West Ham, where he admitted he had not realised how big the job was despite being born near the club and playing at Upton Park.
The former Bolton striker replaced Gary Megson as the club's manager in January after building his managerial reputation at Burnley, whom he led to the top flight in 2009 for the first time in 33 years. This season the 44-year-old is already being considered as a contender for manager of the year, having guided Bolton to sixth despite a fraction of the budget that Tottenham and Man City, the immediate teams above him, have at their disposal.
Newcastle's record goalscorer has already had a crack at managing the club. Shearer was brought in to save them from relegation towards the end of the 2008-09 campaign but failed, seeing them sent down on the final day of the season by Villa. Shearer's side took just five points from a possible 24 and his short-term deal was not extended, with Hughton handed the job instead.