FORMER Rangers boss Dick Advocaat has emerged as the leading candidate to manage Sunderland on a temporary basis until the end of the season after the relegation-threatened Black Cats sacked incumbent Gus Poyet yesterday.
Poyet assumed the Black Cats’ managerial reins from Paolo Di Canio in October 2013 before instigating a near-miraculous escape from relegation and guiding the Black Cats to the League Cup final.
But under the Uruguayan’s stewardship Sunderland have recorded just four Premier League wins from 29 matches this term, while Saturday’s 4-0 capitulation at home to Aston Villa – a seventh defeat in 12 top-flight clashes – proved the final straw for the club’s board. Poyet leaves Sunderland hovering precariously above the Premier League’s trapdoor and only a solitary point ahead of 18th-placed Burnley, while any new manager, temporary or otherwise, would have just nine games to secure the club’s Premier League status.
“Sadly, we have not made the progress that any of us had hoped for this season,” said chairman Ellis Short. “We find ourselves battling, once again, at the wrong end of the table. We have therefore made the difficult decision that change is needed.
“I would like to thank Gus for his endeavours during his time at the club, in particular last season’s ‘great escape’ and cup final appearance, which will live long in the memory of every Sunderland fan.”
The vastly experienced Advocaat, who has also managed PSV, AZ Alkmaar and Zenit St Petersburg as well as string of international sides, is out of work having stepped down as Serbia manager in November.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, who played for Sunderland during the early eighties, as well as ex-England and promotion-chasing Derby County manager Steve McClaren have both been linked with the post on permanent basis.
GUS POYET STATS
■ Record: 23 wins in 75 matches
■ Win percentage: 30.67
■ Seven games this season ended 0-0
■ 23 goals is second lowest in top flight
■ 204 is the fewst number of shots
■ Second-worst home record in league