Sam Allardyce ready for Sunderland hotseat vacated by Dick Advocaat

Burnley manager Sean Dyche, who was on Sunderland’s radar in the summer, is also being considered

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The Independent Online

Sam Allardyce is ready to cut short his sabbatical from football to take over at Sunderland. Dick Advocaat’s long-mooted departure from the Stadium of Light was confirmed, leaving the Black Cats seeking their fifth head coach in two and a half years.

Former Newcastle United manager Allardyce, 60, had planned to take a break from the game until Christmas following his summer exit from West Ham. But The Independent understands he is prepared to take on the task of Sunderland’s renewed battle against relegation and he is currently the bookies’ favourite for the position. 

The Burnley manager Sean Dyche, who was on Sunderland’s radar in the summer, is also being considered.

The club’s sporting director Lee Congerton is drawing up a short list and Sunderland hope to have a new man in place by the time they travel to West Bromwich Albion on 17 October.

Advocaat said: “I feel it is the right time to do this – not for me, but for the club. I have made the decision to go after only eight games as I felt it was important to give everyone time turn things around, like we did last year. I remain on good terms with everyone at the club.” 

Saturday’s 2-2 draw with West Ham moved Sunderland up a place in the Premier League table, above rivals Newcastle, but they have won just three of their last 23 Premier League games and are still in the relegation zone.

The club’s owner, Ellis Short, said he regretted Advocaat’s decision to leave. The 68-year-old Dutchman was brought into the club during their annual crisis in March. He oversaw three victories in nine games – against Newcastle, Southampton and Everton – and it was enough to scrape over the line. 

He intended then to return to Holland, but was persuaded to remain on Weatside, a U-turn he has increasingly regretted.

Advocaat threatened to leave on the eve of the new season, unhappy with the club’s recruitment in the summer. He told the club to buy quality and to strengthen early but signings came late and the investment of around £25m was not what he had hoped for. 

Ironically Sunderland’s best performance of the season, with the new players showing increased fitness, came in his final game. Sunderland should have beaten West Ham, having led 2-0 through Steven Fletcher and Jeremain Lens, only to concede on the stroke of half-time to Carl Jenkinson. Lens was sent off for a second bookable offence and Dimitri Payet equalised on the hour.

Short said: “I am truly saddened by Dick’s decision, but I respect him for his honesty and for doing what he feels is right for the club. 

“He is a man of integrity and a true football person. He was hugely respectful of the club in taking this decision and he acted 100 per cent  in our best interests. It is also testament to his character that he has forgone any kind of a financial settlement, something which is very unusual in football.

“While this isn’t a situation any of us envisaged being in, what is important now is that we regroup quickly and focus on the rest of the season.”

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