Nick Barmby says it would be a 'great loss' if manager Phil Brown left Hull City to take charge at Sunderland.
Brown, a boyhood Sunderland fan, has been linked with the Sunderland vacancy after Roy Keane resigned from the role last week.
The Tigers boss has already dismissed rumours he will change jobs, and Barmby confirmed the City squad want the manager to stay at the KC Stadium.
"We all want him to stay," said Barmby in The Sun. "That's the dressing room, the chairman and fans. It'd be a great loss if he left.
"He has said he still has a job to do here. That is great for the club and we are very lucky to have him.
"Look at what he has done. He has been fantastic. He kept us in the Championship when we looked like getting relegated two years ago, then he got us promoted to the Premier League.
"Now look at what he is doing in the top flight and it just goes to prove he is a fantastic, up-and-coming manager.
"He has a three or four-year plan, but the main thing for us is to stay in the Premier League."
Brown has again distanced himself from the Sunderland position and believes his former Bolton boss Sam Allardyce is the right man for the job.
"I've already ruled myself out," said Brown. "It is a distraction and I've got to make sure I don't allow myself to be distracted.
"I've spoken to Sam and that's a private conversation. Sam's out of work at the moment and I think he wants to come back, obviously.
"I think Sam classes himself as a Premier League manager and so do I.
"There will be a number of jobs coming up this season as there always are, but it's a club that's close to his heart.
"He's played for them and he's been back there as a coach with Peter Reid.
"Would my advice be to take Sunderland? Ah, he's not going to listen to me.
"But Sunderland are managerless and they need somebody at the helm fairly quickly.
"It's a great club. There's no doubt about it. It's a club that, given the right manager and infrastructure, will go places. And Sam's a great manager.
"He just needs to get into the right club at the right time and there's one available."