Rumours linking Mick McCarthy with a return to Sunderland have intensified following word that the former Ipswich Town boss has been spotted in the North-East.
The 59-year-old visited the Travelling Man pub in West Boldon as well as a Cooper BMW garage nearby, images posted on Twitter appear to confirm.
McCarthy, who coached Sunderland between 2003 and 2006, was recently installed as the bookmakers' favourite to replace Chris Coleman at the Stadium of Light.
According to the Sunderland Echo, however, McCarthy was in the region on pre-planned personal business, rather than to speak to the club about the vacant managerial position.
Sunderland, who sacked Coleman shortly after being relegated from the Championship, are on the verge of being taken over by a consortium fronted by Eastleigh FC chairman Steward Donald.