Dick Advocaat takes over at Sunderland until the end of the season
Sunderland have moved quickly to replaced sacked manager Gus Poyet after confirming that Dutchman Dick Advocaat will take over at the Stadium of Light until the end of the season.
The well-travelled Dutchman, who has had two stints in charge of his national side and spent four years at Rangers, has been identified as the man to lead a late charge against relegation following Poyet's dismissal.
The Black Cats are moving quickly in their pursuit of the 67-year-old, with Saturday's trip to West Ham one of only nine games left to lift them away from the Premier League drop zone.
"Sunderland is a big club and I am very much looking forward to the challenge ahead," said Advocaat. "We must now concentrate on Saturday as a priority and I can't wait to get started."
Advocaat will take charge of Sunderland's final nine Premier League games, with West Ham boss Sam Allardyce and Real Sociedad chief David Moyes believed to be in the frame to secure the post long-term.
Meanwhile, former Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio has launched a stinging attack on Black Cats chairman Ellis Short, after claiming he is to blame for the club's woes.
“It’s not Poyet’s fault, because chairman Ellis Short is the real origin of all these troubles," said Di Canio on Italian TV.
"I saved Sunderland when the club was sinking; along with my staff, I completed a true miracle, on and off the pitch.
“We tried to change the philosophy of the team: in the two previous years, no fines were given, despite players getting drunk and partying until late, even a few days before a match.
“I was giving fines even for [players being] five minutes late. It’s fundamental, to keep order in the dressing room. I took all the responsibilities, but my project was immediately cut off.
“It was a choice which came from above. When I was the manager, two directors chose 16 players. None of them are still at the club: neither the players, nor those directors.
“I don’t want to blame Poyet, but if you’re afraid to fine one of your players, then you have to expect some troubles.
"This team is just looking for three worse teams to leave behind.”