Sunderland have begun talks with Gus Poyet over their managerial vacancy, but should the Uruguayan take the Wearside hot-seat, he faces a monumental task to turn their season around.

It may still be too early to talk of relegation but the Black Cats made a horrendous start under Paolo Di Canio, who was sacked on Sunday evening after a player revolt.

Sunderland currently prop up the table with just one point from five games and Kevin Ball has been placed in caretaker charge until next week when an appointment is expected. 

Poyet himself departed Brighton earlier this year in acrimonious circumstances after a falling-out with the board. However, he did take the Seagulls up from League One in his first full season in charge and has previous coaching experience with Tottenham Hotspur and prior to that, Swindon Town and Leeds United.

The former League One Manager of the Year will no doubt be a popular appointment after the tyrannical Di Canio, but whether he has the managerial nous to succeed in the Premiership is another matter.

His only previous coaching in the top flight came in a short spell at Spurs where he was assistant to Juande Ramos.

The pair were sacked with Spurs bottom after eight games, but while Poyet cannot be held entirely responsible for a period of woeful leadership, he is yet to prove himself at the very highest level. This all means Sunderland are taking a big, big risk. 

Roberto Di Matteo and Tony Pulis have also been linked with the post, but Poyet now appears to be the frontrunner for what will undoubtedly be a hugely difficult task. What Sunderland need is a Redknapp-esque coach who has fought off relegation before.

Since Martin O’Neill’s departure in March, Sunderland have been on a continuous downward slide, only escaping relegation on the penultimate day last time around.

Fishing from the lower leagues did not work with Di Canio, but if Poyet is appointed, he will have a lot to learn about managing in the Premier League if he is to keep them up.

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