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Enjoy it, urges caretaker boss Ball
SUNDERLAND caretaker manager Kevin Ball has insisted his players go out and enjoy tonight’s cup game to provide the perfect tonic in the wake of Paolo Di Canio’s dismissal.
The Black Cats turned to Ball to lead the team out at the Stadium of Light in the Capital One Cup third round tonight, after Di Canio was given his marching orders on Sunday night.
Ball will be assisted by Robbie Stockdale in the dugout this evening after taking charge of last night’s Under-21 game against Middlesbrough, and has called for hard work from his players.
“First and foremost you want them to go out and enjoy the game, work hard, do the right things, give 100% - you can't ask them any more than that,” said Ball, who took training at the Academy of Light yesterday morning.
“In terms of the result we need to do all of that to make sure the result takes care of itself.
“The immediate priority was for me to meet players, talk to the players, then get out and have a good session. I can't put too much into their minds, just go out and have a decent session, and it was a good session, we interacted, found out how they were, really getting that side sorted, then little bit of organisation around the match tonight.”
Ball has managed the first team before, when Mick McCarthy was dismissed in 2006 during the 15-point season, and secured Sunderland’s only home win that season against Fulham as well as a memorable point at Old Trafford to deny Manchester United the title.
And the former tough-tackling midfielder believes the step up to first-team coach is not a massive one.
Speaking of his first stint as caretaker, Ball said: “The situation was different, it gave you an experience. I enjoyed it last time, and I hope I feel the same this time.
“To be honest, with 20 years a player and ten years as a coach, you do many things a manager would do anyhow, it's a natural progression, and it's quite comfortable.
“Focusing on tomorrow night, we didn't talk much about it beforehand, we mentioned its importance and what we were doing. Beforehand, heads would have been spinning a bit, I watched them to see who was focused, who wasn't.
“It will be a good test, it's up to us to make things happen, I think it will be a good open game of football.”
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