Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom has distanced himself from reports linking him with the managerial vacancy at Sunderland.
Reds head coach Heckingbottom, 40, started his career at Sunderland without playing a game, and had loan spells at Darlington and Hartlepool.
The Black Cats sacked Simon Grayson on Tuesday night after winning one league game since relegation from the Premier League.
Heckingbottom was heavily linked to the post at the end of last season following David Moyes’ departure and his name has cropped up in newspaper reports again with his reputation as a bright young English talent continuing to grow.
But, ahead of Barnsley’s home game with Birmingham City on Saturday, Heckingbottom said: “We had it last season and it’s part and parcel of the game.
“When things are going well that’s what you want, if next January there’s X, Y, Z clubs linked with our players then it means we’re doing something right.
“It’s flattering in that respect that things are going well and you can do a job, but other than that, that is it.
“People in the north east, who I already know, are the first to have spoken to me about it.
“Other than being asked about it now, it’s not even in my head so that’s as far as it goes.”