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Ball to continue Sunderland role
Kevin Ball will send Sunderland into battle with Manchester United on Saturday after having his spell as interim head coach extended.
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 Black Cats run the rule over a series of potential replacements for Paolo Di Canio.
Sunderland confirmed the move on their official website on Monday afternoon, eight days on from the Italian's departure.
Confirmation, which was not unexpected, came as skipper John O'Shea ordered his team-mates to draw a line under the catastrophic breakdown of their relationship with Di Canio and dig themselves out of trouble.
The Black Cats remain rooted to the foot of the Barclays Premier League table after taking just a single point from their first six games and O'Shea, while confirming that the dressing room had played a part in the 45-year-old's demise, has insisted the players must regroup to prevent the club from being cast adrift.
He told the Sunderland Echo: "That was obviously done. But we have to move on now.
"Because of the position we are in in the league, we can't keep going back to it. We have got some difficult months ahead.
"Whoever comes in, whether it's Bally or a new manager, we have got tough times ahead.
"We have to stick together and if we keep going back to it, it will soon be too hard to pull back from where we are."
Sunderland turned in a much-improved display against Liverpool but ultimately came out of it empty-handed once again, and with United due to arrive on Wearside at the weekend intent on addressing their own losing streak, things could yet get worse before they get better.
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