Football

Win bonus may be in offing for Sbragia

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Ricky Sbragia could earn himself an extended reign as caretaker boss at Sunderland if his team keep getting results.

The Scot is expected to be in charge for Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Hull, after masterminding the Black Cats' 4-0 demolition of West Brom at the weekend.

Should they return from the KC Stadium with something to show for their efforts, Sbragia may remain at the helm a little longer as chairman Niall Quinn and his fellow directors close in on their main targets for the job vacated by Roy Keane.

The club's hierarchy have been delighted with the way Keane's former coach has taken on the responsibility and created a unity both on and off the pitch.

Having seen Sbragia reap the rewards of that with a spirited display in a narrow defeat at Manchester United before turning on the style against the Baggies, they are happy the team is in good hands.

Quinn insisted before Saturday's game that he had not ruled out the former United and Bolton coach as a candidate for the job. He has enhanced his reputation since, and there is a growing feeling on Wearside that he cannot be discounted - despite his admission that he has not even considered it.

Sbragia has replaced Sam Allardyce as 5/2 favourite with bookmakers Ladbrokes - and midfielder Kieran Richardson, who worked with him at United, admits he has done his cause no harm.

"He is doing a great job. He has got the backing of the players; he is getting everyone confident and expressing themselves," said Richardson. "Roy Keane did that as well - we won't forget where Roy Keane brought us. He brought us up into the Premier League, and we won't forget that.

"At the moment, Ricky is in charge. We don't know how long that will be for - you never know, he might get the job!"

It is understood a list of top targets is close to being completed and that some may be more readily available than others, but as long as Sbragia keeps the ship on course the need to make a swift appointment will recede.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.

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Topics:
Sunderland
West Bromwich Albion
Football
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Manchester United
Roy Keane
Kieran Richardson
Hull City

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