Sunderland defender John O'Shea backs Kevin Ball to be a popular manager among the players should he take Black Cats job

Ball is currently caretaker manager at the Stadium of Light and O'Shea has admitted that he's already made an impact of the squad after Paolo Di Canio's sacking

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John O'Shea believes that Kevin Ball would be a popular appointment with the players if he was handed the Sunderland job on a permanent basis.

Ball saw his spell as interim head coach at the Stadium of Light extended on Monday as the club confirmed that he would remain in charge for Saturday's match against Manchester United.

The 48-year-old, who was initially asked to take up the reins for the Capital One Cup win over Peterborough and Sunday's 3-1 Barclays Premier League defeat by Liverpool, will continue in the role as the club run the rule over a series of potential replacements for Paolo Di Canio.

Di Canio's departure from Wearside eight days ago was an acrimonious one with O'Shea confirming that the dressing room had played a part in the 45-year-old's demise.

But the Black Cats showed plenty of spirit on Sunday against the Reds and defender O'Shea would have no problem with Ball being handed the top job.

He told the Sunderland Echo: "Without a doubt, he's made an impact. If it does happen, the players would be very happy.

"But we will wait and see what the club decides."

Sunderland are continuing to evaluate a series of potential candidates for the vacancy with Gus Poyet, Rene Meulensteen and senior professional development coach Ball, who has indicated his own interest in filling the role on a permanent basis, figuring prominently in the betting.

However, chief executive Margaret Byrne has revealed that discussions with several contenders have already taken place and talks with others will be held this week, and it appears an appointment is not imminent.

Ball launched his spell in charge with a 2-0 Capital One Cup victory over Posh on Tuesday evening, but was unable to repeat the feat against sterner opposition on Sunday.

Sunderland played a full part in the game, but were ultimately undone by the brilliance of the returning Luis Suarez and strike-partner Daniel Sturridge.

Ball was disappointed by the result, but hugely encouraged by the performance of his players in front of the watching owner Ellis Short.

He said: "That's something that whenever you come away from the Stadium of Light, no matter who is in charge, whatever the club, we have always got to see that.

"That's something that I would drum into the players in future, we must see that all the time.

"People must go away from here, irrespective of what happens, and away from home as well knowing full well that their team has put in a shift, and today, they can say that."