Shock Sunderland front-runner to replace Poyet is risky one

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Rarely will you hear of fans staying til the end of matches to beat the traffic, but that certainly looked to be the case at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Defensive lapses and the inability to retain possession saw a previously impotent Aston Villa side bag four before the break against Sunderland, taking three points in imperious fashion.

It was only when it was far too late that the Black Cats came to life, with Steven Fletcher ruing two missed opportunities.

That appears to have been the straw the broke the camel’s back, with Gustavo Poyet given his marching orders after 18 months in charge.

A meeting with the club’s board looked ominous on Monday morning, and at lunch-time it was confirmed that Poyet would be handed his P45.

So where next for the relegation-threatened side?

We look at a quartet of possibilities that could fill the void in the hotseat…

Dick Advocaat – 6/4

Appointing a man that has stuck around longer than a year in just one of his last six managerial positions may seem like a risk to Sunderland fans, as the club looks to stave off the threat of relegation.

But one thing Advocaat possesses is experience, and plenty of it.

The Dutchman has been on the managerial circuit for over 20 years and boasts league title honours to his name in three different countries, though whether he has had to oversee such a survival mission is doubtful.

Currently out of work after leaving the role of Head Coach of the Serbian national team, he could be an expensive gamble if the Championship beckons.

Sam Allardyce – 10/1

With his contract up at West Ham at the end of the current campaign, reports are already linking Big Sam to the Stadium of Light role at the end of the season.

But with the threat of the drop looming large, Sunderland could move for their man sooner, with the former Bolton gaffer renowned as a steady pair of hands when it comes to doing the basics right.

Allardyce donned the red and white of Sunderland in his playing days for the 1980-81 season, a campaign in which the Mackems survived relegation by two points with four victories in their last nine games, could it be a sign?

Aitor Karanka – 25/1

Maybe Ellis Short and the rest of the Sunderland board could look at their Teeside neighbours, currently taking the Championship by storm and decide they want a bit of what they’re having.

With an impressive win rate of 49 per cent since moving to the Riverside from Real Madrid, Aitor Karanka is certainly making a name for himself as a manager.

A crack at the Premier League so soon in his career in the dug-out could be extremely tempting for the Spaniard, but he could well wait and try and reach that goal with his current club.

Next Sunderland manager odds:

Dick Advocaat 6/4

Steve McClaren 7/1

Sam Allardyce 10/1

Harry Redknapp 10/1

Glenn Hoddle 12/1

Neil Lennon 12/1

Mick McCarthy 14/1

Steve Bruce 14/1

Bar 20/1

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.