Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Could Sunderland give Ball bigger role?
ELLIS SHORT is toying with the idea of giving Kevin Ball a greater role at Sunderland - regardless of whether he is named Paolo Di Canio’s successor at the Stadium of Light.
Ball has already been informed he will be leading the first team in to Saturday’s Premier League fixture with Manchester United and there is a growing chance he will be handed the reins for even longer.
Despite the defeat to Liverpool last Sunday, it was noted how warmly the caretaker manager was greeted by Sunderland’s fans even though they failed to avoid a fifth defeat from six league games this season.
But Ball has impressed Short with the way Sunderland have played under him following Di Canio’s sacking 12 days ago and has witnessed the warmth there is towards him from supporters.
The reaction from fans, during such a frustrating and worrying time for the club, was an indication that the club’s well-liked and respected former captain has the fans behind him.
That has made Ball a leading contender for the role after he was quick to admit that taking over on a permanent basis would interest him.
The 48-year-old is currently the club’s Under-21s and development coach, but Short is well aware of his 20 years service to Sunderland so knows all about the history and how to connect the fans with the club. That is a direction they are keen to head following Di Canio’s six-month spell.
For now Poyet remains the front-runner given that he is still the man director of football Roberto De Fanti wants.
But even if the Uruguayan does get the job, Ball could still be involved in a new-look backroom team.
Short and chief executive Margaret Byrne are understood to have reservations about installing Poyet, particularly after he was willing to go public with his chances of being appointed before a decision had been made.
The former Brighton boss, who has had a couple of interviews, is desperate to persuade the Sunderland boardroom to give him a chance to manage in the Premier League despite his controversial exit from the Seagulls in April.
Gianfranco Zola, Rene Meulensteen and Roberto Di Matteo remain strong alternatives, while MK Dons’ Karl Robinson has emerged as an interesting outsider in recent days.
For now Ball is carrying on in the hope of convincing Short that he is the right man to lead Sunderland out of the doldrums and up the Premier League table.
After the visit of Manchester United, who are looking to avoid a third successive league defeat, there is a two-week international break when the caretaker boss will learn what the future the holds for him.
The next two days, though, will be spent working on the plan to stop David Moyes’ men and he insists that he could easily change the system if he thinks it will suit his team.
“As each game goes on and each team – and individuals – you come up against, the system might change,” he said. “You’d have a philosophy over the way you want to do things in time and you might have a set system, but one that can react for certain opposition.
“In time, I’d love to be able to do that. But at the moment, I’ve only had a few days with them and it’s important they’re in a system they understand and are comfortable with and where they know how to play the game.”
Despite being managerless, De Fanti and his chief scout Valentino Angeloni are trying to keep an eye on the transfer front and talent-spotting for the future.
And they have invited four youth team players from the Ghana champions, Asante Kotoko, over for trials. Midfielders Saddick Mohammed, Lukman Kasim and Abdul Mujeeb and striker Prince Amankwah are heading for Wearside as part of a three-year agreement.
Comments are closed on this article.