JACK ROSS, the St Mirren manager, is close to joining English League One outfit Sunderland.

Reports have emerged on Wearside that the 42-year-old has agreed a deal with the club which has suffered successive relegations in the last two seasons.

St Mirren were still this week confident Ross could be persuaded to stay but knew they faced a fight to keep hold of one of British football's most highly rated young managers.

Ross saved the Paisley side from what for a long time seemed certain relegation in 2017 and then lead the club to a runaway Championship title success last season.

Lewis Morgan, who left St Mirren for Celtic this year, believes plans will already be in place, with David Hopkin of Livingston a leading candidate.

"It would be a massive blow if he leaves because of all the work Jack has done at St Mirren," said Morgan.

"To have accomplished what he has has been incredible.

"But at the same time, the club has the potential and everything is in place for them to be progressive this year.

"I'm sure they will have something in mind if the manager goes. They will be thinking about it now and planning for it.

"It would be better if he did stay, but if not I'm sure St Mirren will be OK."