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Di Canio set for Sunderland talks

Published 31/03/2013 | 16:51

Paolo Di Canio is set for talks with Sunderland
Paolo Di Canio is set for talks with Sunderland

Paolo Di Canio is travelling to the north east for talks over the managerial vacancy at Sunderland, Press Association Sport understands.

The Italian has emerged as the frontrunner to succeed Martin O'Neill, who was sacked in the wake of the Wearsiders' 1-0 defeat to Manchester United on Saturday.

It is believed Di Canio will hold talks with Sunderland officials with a view to being formally appointed on Monday.

Di Canio's immediate objective will be to revitalise a squad for a seven-game run-in which will determine where the Black Cats will play their football next season.

They are currently just a point above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone after a run of eight games without a win.

It appears club owner Ellis Short is determined to make an appointment sooner rather than later ahead of a difficult run of games which takes the Black Cats to Chelsea next weekend ahead of a derby trip to Newcastle and the visit of Everton, whose 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final replay victory on Wearside last season had such devastating consequences for O'Neill's reign.

The new man will be Sunderland's fifth manager in a little more than four years, and the first the American will have chosen since Niall Quinn's departure as chairman.

Di Canio's appointment would undoubtedly represent a gamble for Sunderland given his volatile nature.

The 44-year-old resigned from his post at Swindon in February, citing a number of off-field events including the sale of star man Matt Ritchie.

After leaving Swindon he outlined his belief that he was now ready to manage at a higher level, telling BBC Sport: "I believe I am at a stage now where I am a Premier League or Championship manager."

Press Association

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