Monday 20 November 2017

Allardyce set for Sunderland hot seat as Advocaat quits

Sunderland struggle to replace former manager Dick Advocaat
Sunderland struggle to replace former manager Dick Advocaat

Martin Hardy

Sam Allardyce is ready to cut short his sabbatical from football to take over at Sunderland.

Dick Advocaat's long-mooted departure from the Stadium of Light was confirmed yesterday, leaving the Black Cats seeking their fifth head coach in two and a half years.

Former Newcastle United manager Allardyce, 60, had planned to take a break from the game until Christmas following his summer exit from West Ham.

However, he is prepared to take on the task of Sunderland's renewed battle against relegation and he is currently the bookies' favourite for the position.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche, who was on Sunderland's radar in the summer, is also being considered.

Sunderland sporting director Lee Congerton is drawing up a short list and the club hope to have a new man in place by the time they travel to West Bromwich Albion on October 17.

Advocaat said: "I feel it is the right time to do this - not for me, but for the club. I have made the decision to go after only eight games as I felt it was important to give everyone time turn things around. I remain on good terms with everyone at the club."

Saturday's 2-2 draw with West Ham moved Sunderland up a place in the Premier League table, above rivals Newcastle, but they have won just three of their last 23 Premier League games and are still in the relegation zone.

The 68-year-old Advocaat was brought into the club during their annual crisis in March. He oversaw three victories in nine games - against Newcastle, Southampton and Everton - and it was enough to scrape over the line.

He intended then to return to Holland, but was persuaded to remain on Weatside - a U-turn he has increasingly regretted.

Advocaat threatened to leave on the eve of the new season, unhappy with the club's recruitment in the summer. He told the club to buy quality and to strengthen early but signings came late and the investment of around £25m was way short than he expected.

Ironically Sunderland's best performance of the season, with the new players showing increased fitness, came in his final game.

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