Belfast Telegraph

Advocaat set for Hammers test

Dick Advocaat will mark his first game as Sunderland boss by coming face to face with the man already tipped to replace him.

Advocaat has been handed the short-term task of keeping the Black Cats in the Barclays Premier League after replacing Gus Poyet on Tuesday.

And his first task will be to stem his new side's losing streak when they face West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday evening.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has already been installed as a strong favourite to return to the north east as Advocaat's replacement in the summer.

But the 67-year-old Dutchman insisted he is very much focused on the task in hand.

Advocaat said: "Sunderland is a big club and I am very much looking forward to the challenge ahead.

"We must now concentrate on Saturday as a priority and I can't wait to get started."

Advocaat will be assisted at the Stadium of Light by first-team coach Zeljko Petrovic, his assistant with Serbia, as well as former Swansea and England Under-20 goalkeeping coach Adrian Tucker.

Former Fulham manager Paul Bracewell, now Sunderland's academy coach, will also provide support for the final nine games of the season.

Advocaat may have hopes of extending his stay on Wearside if he can pull off a survival mission similar to that achieved by Poyet last term.

But the Uruguayan found the current season much harder and was dismissed in the wake of Saturday's humiliating 4-0 home defeat to Aston Villa.

Sunderland owner Ellis Short told the club's official website, "Dick has an incredible CV and vast experience of managing at the very highest level.

"We have one aim only now - to climb the table and everyone is fully focused on the task ahead of us."

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