Advocaat favourite to replace axed Black Cats boss Poyet
Gus Poyet has been sacked by relegation-threatened Sunderland, leaving the Black Cats racing against time to appoint a replacement for the last nine games of the season.
The Uruguayan departs the Stadium of Light 17 months after taking over from Paolo di Canio's turbulent regime, with the team just a point above the drop zone.
The final straw for Poyet was Saturday's shambolic 4-0 home defeat by Aston Villa, which saw vast swathes of the crowd leave early in disgust.
Poyet took training for the final time at the Academy of Light yesterday before being told of his fate, ending his stay on Wearside after 75 games and just 23 wins.
Chairman Ellis Short released a short statement confirming the decision.
Short said: "I would like to thank Gus for his endeavours during his time at the club, in particular last season's 'great escape' and cup final appearance, which will live long in the memory of every Sunderland fan.
"Sadly, we have not made the progress that any of us had hoped for this season and we find ourselves battling, once again, at the wrong end of the table. We have therefore made the difficult decision that a change is needed."
The statement added that an announcement about Poyet's successor would be made "in due course".
With time running short, and a trip to West Ham on Saturday, the club are expected to act quickly.
Dutchman Dick Advocaat was installed as the favourite to take over, but the club are also considering an internal appointment to see out the campaign.
Kevin Ball has performed the role of caretaker manager on three occasions, while development coach Paul Bracewell is another who could be considered.
Speaking after what was to be his last game in charge, Poyet said: "I am responsible. When things go right, I tell you I am responsible, and when things go wrong, I tell you I am responsible. I don't pick and choose."