Sunderland retain Kevin Ball for Manchester United clash

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Sunderland have confirmed that caretaker-manager Kevin Ball will remain
in charge for Saturday’s game against champions Manchester United.

The Black Cats made the announcement on their official club website on Monday, whilst also confirming that their search for a successor to Paolo Di Canio is still on-going.

It means that Ball will take charge of the Geordie side for the third time since Di Canio was sacked earlier this month, and he will be bidding to take them off the foot of the table against an out of sorts Manchester United.

Chief executive Margaret Byrne wrote in the club’s match programme: "Clearly as a matter of priority, our efforts are presently focused on appointing a new Head Coach.

"As you would expect with a position of this magnitude, there has been a lot of interest, however, there is no definitive timescale on an appointment, as we are carefully examining all of the options available to us.”

She added: “I am sure that you have read and heard all kinds of rumours and speculation about potential targets but much of this is guesswork. We have had contact with some interested parties already and have others to speak to in the coming days.

"As soon as we have identified the right person to take the club forward we will make an announcement.”

Sunderland have been heavily linked with former Brighton boss Gustavo Poyet and Champions League winner Roberto Di Matteo since they made the decision to part with their former manager.

Fiery Italian boss Di Canio had a hugely controversial spell with the Black Cats, with the West Ham legend picking up just one point in his first five games this season and facing a player revolt over his confrontational managerial-style.

This led to his sacking on September 22, and since Ball was put in temporary charge Sunderland have beaten Peterborough in the League Cup and performed impressively against Liverpool in the league, despite a 3-1 defeat.

And club skipper John O’Shea was full of praise Ball after their battling display against the Reds on Sunday.

He told Sky Sports: “He’s been fantastic.

“Everything is fairly straightforward. You know exactly where you lie with Bally and the players have enjoyed it.

“Hopefully that will continue but we’ll wait and see.”

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