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Newcastle are the early favourites to win The Championship next season and bounce straight back into the Premiership.

Wigan boss Steve Bruce has been given permission to talk to Sunderland about their managerial vacancy, according to reports.

The former Manchester United captain has emerged as the front-runner to succeed Ricky Sbragia and, before him, Roy Keane at the Stadium of Light. Sbragia stepped aside at the weekend following his team’s narrow escape from Premier League relegation.

American businessman Ellis Short, the club’s majority shareholder, who bankrolled their summer spending spree last year, will complete his buy-out of the Drumaville consortium put together by chairman Niall Quinn three years ago.

Quinn told the club’s official website: “This is fantastic news for the club. “Ellis has already shown tremendous commitment to date, but today’s announcement opens the door for a new era at the Stadium of Light.”

It is claimed that a compensation package had already been agreed with the Latics, clearing the way for Bruce to discuss personal terms with the Wearsiders.

Bruce was giving nothing away when asked about his intntions, telling Sky Sports News: “There’s always speculation and you cannot stop that. It is flattering.

“But I’m very, very pleased with what’s happened with us (Wigan) and I’m quite pleased with what’s happening in the future, so we’ll see what develops.”

Bruce joined Wigan in November 2007 after Latics owner Dave Whelan agreed a £3million compensation package with Birmingham.

Newcastle are the early favourites to win The Championship next season and bounce straight back into the Premiership.

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