Sunderland first team coach Anthony Hayes has left the club to join Gillingham following the expiry of his short-term contract at the Stadium of Light. 

Hayes departs Wearside to link up with Mark Bonner as assistant manager with the League Two club ahead of the 2024-25 season.

The 37-year-old arrived at the Academy of Light in February to form part of Mike Dodds' backroom staff during Dodds' 13-game interim period in charge having left Charlton Athletic last year. 

Hayes spent seven years with Charlton, where he worked his way up the academy ranks before joining the first team coaching set-up and eventually being handed the head coach role on a caretaker basis following the sacking of Ben Garner.

The Irishman was brought to the North East on a short-term contract to assist Michael Proctor, Alessandro Barcherini and Graeme Murty in supporting Dodds throughout the final three months of the Championship campaign following Michael Beale's sacking.

A decision over Sunderland's backroom staff has been a topic of debate over the last week with Sunderland still to appoint a new head coach - former Stade de Reims boss Will Still was in the frame to take over before suggestions from the Belgian's camp regarding investment and the make-up of his backroom team came to surface. 




Hayes had filled a position the club were keen to occupy following Beale's departure but it's a role which has now been vacated, irrespective of any potential head coach arriving. 

"I am really excited and delighted to be here. I am looking forward to the challenge," Hayes said on joining Bonner at the Priestfield.

"We now have to concentrate on the work we do on a daily basis that is going to give the players the best chance of winning football matches."

Dodds is expected to return to his first team coaching role upon the appointment of a new head coach.