Allardyce backs Sbragia for Sunderland

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Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce has told Sunderland caretaker boss Ricky Sbragia to take the job permanently if it is offered to him.

The pair will come face-to-face on Boxing Day at the Stadium of Light, with Sbragia having previously worked under Allardyce for 18 months at Bolton.

After Roy Keane's departure earlier this month the former Manchester United reserve-team coach was put in temporary charge and Allardyce believes the 52-year-old Scot would do a good job. He said: "He has always been a very good coach but if that job comes along I would seriously consider it if I were him, I wouldn't dismiss it."

When Allardyce stepped down at Bolton Sbragia stayed on for a further seven months but when Sammy Lee was sacked by Wanderers he joined the Black Cats.

He has overseen a narrow 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford before back-to-back victories (4-0 over West Brom and 4-1 at Hull) lifted the gloom on Wearside.

Allardyce added: "The players have responded to what Ricky wants to do and responded exceptionally well.

"He keeps saying he doesn't want the job but I think with the experience he has gained over many years at many clubs he is more capable than he thinks of having a dabble.

"I think the indicator for that is from the players and what they have done for him when they have gone out and put the Sunderland shirt on.

"That shows what effect he has on them as a person and not just as a coach."

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West Bromwich Albion
Blackburn Rovers
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Manchester United
Roy Keane
Hull City

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