For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Ball keen for an update from Sunderland boardroom
KEVIN BALL expects to find out later today if he will still be in charge of Sunderland's first team for this Saturday's visit of Premier League champions Manchester United to the Stadium of Light.
The caretaker boss' second game in charge since Paolo Di Canio's sacking eight days ago ended in a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Wearside yesterday, when Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez proved too hot to handle.
Now Ball, who has put his name forward for the job on a full-time basis, is waiting to hear word from owner Ellis Short about whether or not he will remain in charge for the short or longer term.
Uruguayan Gustavo Poyet remains the favourite for the job, while former Manchester United first team coach Rene Meulensteen is under strong consideration along with Roberto Di Matteo.
But Ball wants talks with the club to sort out plans for the rest of the week, knowing about the importance of the United fixture with Sunderland four points adrift of safety after just six matches.
“I've not heard anything more about the vacancy,” said Ball. “I give credit to the board for the way they've communicated things but I've not heard anything.
“If they want me to take it forward to the Manchester United game then great but it's the board's prerogative, so I'm sure I'll speak to them.”
He added: “I wont ask to talk to them. I will be concentrating on this game. We have a training session in the morning, a game in the afternoon for some players. If the opportunity arises I would like to think I will speak to somebody after that.”
Despite Poyet's claims that he was close to getting the job last week, Short has been keen to take his time to consider all the options available to him and there is no great rush to do something before facing Manchester United.
Chief executive Margaret Byrne said: “As you would expect with a position of this magnitude, there has been a lot of interest, however, there is no definitive timescale of an appointment, as we are carefully examining all of the options available to us.
“We have had some contact with interest parties already and have others to speak to in the coming days. As soon as we have identified the right person to take the club forward we will make an announcement.”
Ball has certainly done his own hopes for the position no harm at all. After last Tuesday's much-needed victory over Peterborough in the Capital One Cup, Sunderland competed with Liverpool yesterday.
Even after falling behind to a goal from Sturridge and Suarez, on his return to league action after a ten-match ban, Sunderland battled back to claim a goal through Emanuele Giaccherini.
In the end Liverpool grabbed a late third through the brilliant Suarez. And Ball, who has tried to introduce the squad he has inherited to Wearside, said: “Before the game I said about the performance, we do need points but we need performances to build on.
“We took the players along the (Seaburn) seafront before the game to show the players the people and the area they represent and they put in a good performance.
“There are a lot of pluses from this that will allow us to build on. I didn't have a big chat with them after the game, they chased the game. To concede a third made it flat after it. I think it is important not to talk about the game too much.”
Sunderland have now conceded nine goals in their last three Premier League games, the sort of leaky form which smacks of relegation trouble.
But Ball said: “You have to give a balance. If we sat off and tried to block them off and lost 1-0 here then they would have said should we have gone for it.
“The way we want to play is attacking football, but a lot of their attacking play was broken up by Lee Cattermole. He was excellent again. We conceded a third from a counter attack.
“The players have worked hard this week and would have liked a result here. But going forward, whoever is in charge, the players must drive this on from here.
“There are parts of the game where we played very well. In the Premier League you can have spells and it is important to make those spells count.”
Comments are closed on this article.