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Poyet interested in Sunderland role as Ball puts his case forward
RUNNING AWAY WITH IT: Sunderland's Valentin Roberge races away in delight after putting his side two goals up against Peterborough in the Capital One Cup in the first game since Paolo Di Canio’s weekend sacking
FORMER Brighton boss Gustavo Poyet has told Sunderland he wants to succeed Paolo Di Canio at the Stadium of Light and is one of a number of names being considered for the role.
Poyet's advisors made contact with the decision makers at the Premier League club yesterday, hours before caretaker manager Kevin Ball led the Black Cats to a much-needed 2-0 win over Peterborough United in the Capital One Cup.
Sunderland owner Ellis Short has had lengthy discussions with chief executive Margaret Byrne and director of football Roberto De Fanti to discuss Di Canio's replacement.
But there is a determination to take time to assess the credentials and character of the men on the short-list they have come up with after watching Short's appointment of Di Canio backfire after just 175-days in charge.
Poyet, though, has made it clear he wants a crack at his first Premier League post, having been originally prevented from taking over on Wearside back in April because he was still manager of Brighton.
But the 45-year-old officially left the Seagulls on June 23 when he was dismissed, although he has always strenuously denied his sacking on grounds of gross misconduct.
Poyet is in line to be interviewed for the post, but Sunderland are considering all options and are not expecting to have a new manager in before this Sunday's visit of Liverpool to the North-East.
Ex-Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo is understood to have distanced himself from the job, after his agent suggested his client is keen to stay in London.
While others in the frame include former Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren, ex-Stoke chief Tony Pulis and Watford manager Gianfranco Zola.
Zola helped the Hornets to the play-off final last season. The Italian said: “Of course I am flattered to have been considered. But I am really happy over here and I like what I am doing.”
De Fanti's links to Italy have led to suggestions over there that former Inter Milan manager Andrea Stramaccioni is among the front-runners, while Sir Alex Ferguson's former first team coach at Old Trafford Rene Meulensteen is interested.
But last night it was former Sunderland captain Ball's turn to take charge and he ensured life after Di Canio started in victory – and he hopes it has strengthened his own claims for the post.
A goal in each half from Emanuele Giaccherini and Valentin Roberge sealed a place in the fourth round draw of the Capital One Cup.
Ball said: “I am probably going to be here until Sunday, if anything changes between then and now then we will see. Anybody who is anybody would like to be considered, I have gone out and got the qualifications, so I'd be interested.
“But that's the club's decision and whoever gets it will have my full support. It was nice to hear the fans sing my name but the support for the team was great.”
Ball, who had a ten-game spell in charge after Mick McCarthy was sacked in 2006, was handed the reins again on Sunday after being told of Di Canio's demise.
Di Canio's tenure came to an end – via a phone call from Short - after the players led a revolt against him and demanded his removal when a delegation met with Byrne and De Fanti.
And Byrne, in her match-day notes said: “When it became obvious it wasn't working, we had to take the decision to part company with him. We felt it was better to do this now as we ran the risk of being cut adrift at the bottom of the Premier League.”
There was an improved performance from the players in their first outing since Di Canio's exit last night, most notably an impressive outing from Lee Cattermole who was harshly treated by the Italian.
Ball said: “They turned in a professional performance, like Lee Cattermole, who put in an excellent performance, along with a number of others. They were fine and they all worked very hard.”
Skipper John O'Shea was withdrawn in the second half with a slight niggle and as a precautionary measure ahead of Sunday's visit of Liverpool. Striker Steven Fletcher missed the game and his dislocated shoulder is still being assessed.
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