With his new side second bottom of the Premier League and without a win all season Sam Allardyce knows the task at hand as he takes the reins at Sunderland.
The Black Cats remain 1/5 shots to be playing Championship football next season, and with the Tyne-Wear derby the next home fixture for his side, things need to pick up quickly.
Big Sam comes with a reputation of a man to turn to in a crisis, and he has made it clear he is aware of what he faces:
“People always look at me and see what I’ve done at West Ham and Blackburn, which is a similar resurrection in what I’ve got to do at Sunderland,” he told The Sun.
“Get them out of trouble as soon as I can and up that league because this year is obviously very important time for everyone based on the new deal coming in next season.”
But Allardyce may well want to improve on the squad at his disposal, and there are certain players he could be expected to turn to.
We look at five men the Dudley-born gaffer might look for a reunion with.
It was inevitable that wherever Allardyce ended up, rumours would begin to circulate regarding Kevin Nolan joining him.
The 33-year-old has been without a club since leaving West Ham in the summer, and although now lacking any pace that he might have had to start with, seems to deliver wherever he goes, scoring a total of 99 league goals in 522 career appearances.
Ricardo Vaz Te
A key cog in the West Ham machine that helped Allardyce achieve promotion back to the Premier League in 2012, Vaz Te is another without a club.
He’s been on trial at the likes of Bury and West Brom this season, and having worked with the new Mackem’s boss at Bolton, could be set for another link up.
Allardyce brought the Frenchman to Upton Park on a free last term, but the former West Brom man finds himself without a club since falling out with Hammers’ incumbent Slaven Bilic.
Sunderland have put in the fewest crosses in the premier League this season, so adding some much needed threat on the wings could see Amalfitano at the Stadium of Light in the latter half of the season.
Another area that the Black Cats have struggled with this term is at the back. With 18 goals shipped in eight games, an average of 2.25 goals per game, they are operating the leakiest defence in the all four divisions.
‘The Ginger Pele’ as he is affectionately known by the West Ham fans has found opportunities limited this term in east London, so could appreciate a move in January.
Another defender that has played well under Sam Allardyce in the past is former QPR stopper Chris Samba.
He was handed his big break in English football with Blackburn, the majority of his spell coming under Big Sam. And although flying at Dynamo Moscow, with his family still based in England and perhaps a position at the focal point heart of Sunderland’s defence up for grabs, he could yet return to these shores.
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