Robertson or bust for O'Neill
Martin O'Neill has today said that he will not appoint an assistant unless it is his former number two, John Robertson.
The former Aston Villa boss has worked without an assistant since taking over the reins last December and will continue to do so if Robertson is unable to join him in the dug-out at the Stadium of Light.
First-team coach Steve Walford and goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh have assisted O'Neill who has been without an appointed deputy since his arrival.
Speaking to The Sunderland Echo, O'Neill explained that that would not change unless Robertson became available:
'The way things fell, when I took over the job at Sunderland, his own personal circumstances with his family and their development meant it wasn`t a good time to uproot and come here.'
The boss continued:
"But if circumstances were to change in the future then we`d look at things.
"As things stand, though, I`ve no intention of appointing anyone as an assistant if it`s not John."
The pair first played together at Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough and have since been a managerial partnership akin to Clough and his number two, Peter Taylor.
Robertson and O'Neill have shared a dug-out together at Wycombe Wanderers, Leicester City, Celtic, and most recently, Aston Villa.