Steve Bruce is not surprised that Roy Keane is set to surface as the new manager of Sunderland over the weekend.

The Birmingham City manager spent three years with Keane in the same Manchester United team and knew that the midfield player was destined for such a role.

"When you are playing, you know those who are likely to end up becoming managers and Roy was one of those," Bruce said. "It is no secret that Roy has been taking his coaching badges on the quiet. I will give a ring to give him my best wishes.

"I don't think Roy will have a problem managing players who had less talent than he had. Let's face it, most players had less talent than he had. He will know the score and I am sure he will be OK."

Keane's first match in charge will be at home on Monday to West Bromwich Albion, whose manager, Bryan Robson, was also part of that Manchester United team in the mid-1990s.

Sunderland expected to confirm Keane as their new manager in time for the match. Niall Quinn, who currently doubles as chairman and manager, would not confirm that Keane will take over but it has now become the worst-kept secret in football.

Sunderland, who have lost five successive matches under Quinn, confirmed talks with "a high-profile figure" were ongoing, with Quinn eager to relinquish the coaching responsibilities that he reluctantly took on after failing to lure a top-class manager during the summer.

Quinn spoke on Tuesday night of appointing a "world-class" manager, however Manchester United legend Keane would be raw to the role rather than of established pedigree.