Following the sacking of Gus Poyet, Sunderland moved swiftly to parachute Dick Advocaat into the dugout, making him the club’s eighth manager in four-and-a-half years.
The Dutchman first took charge of a professional football match in 1980 and has manned the helm for a staggering six national sides, but will sample Premier League soccer for the first time when his Black Cats side tackle West Ham at the Boleyn Ground this weekend, a game they’re rated 13/4 to win.
Following their 4-0 massacring at the hands of Aston Villa last time, the Wearsiders have just a point separating them from 18th-place Burnley and are without victory in six top-tier outings.
If they are to elongate their eight-year stay in English football’s highest division, it’s paramount the 67-year-old picks up wins quickly.
With this being the case, Advocaat will be especially thankful for the timing of his appointment.
Home games against Newcastle and Crystal Palace follow the aforementioned trip to West Ham and there’s every chance Sunderland will win the lot.
It’s only the Mackems and Leicester in worse form than the Hammers at the moment, whose turgid post-Christmas performances have banished those trailblazing early-season turnouts to the outer reaches of supporters of Sam Allardyce’s side’s memories.
They’ve lost three on the spin ahead of this one and have a solitary East End success to speak of since before the Yuletide.
Newcastle were the only team Poyet could be relied upon to beat during his Sunderland tenure, with the barbershop-striped side toppling Newcastle in each of the last four Tyne-Wear derby renewals.
Even Paolo Di Canio oversaw a victory against the Toon, so Advocaat is certainly capable.
The Magpies manager throughout the above point-spilling patch was current Eagles chief Alan Pardew and his difficulties in slaying Sunderland when managing a stronger side says he’s destined to struggle in achieving the feat with the Croydon club.
Further support saying Advocaat will take maximum points from these matches comes in the form of recent managers appointed by the Stadium of Light side savouring rocket-propelled starts to their reigns.
Poyet won his first three home matches in charge, while Di Canio’s only Premier League victories were plundered against Newcastle and Everton, his first two opponents.
Before him Martin O’Neill recorded eight victories in his first 13 matches in charge during the 2011/12 vintage, with the club having posted just two successes in the 14 games that preceded his arrival.
Steve Bruce notched five victories and a draw from his opening nine in charge following an appointment in the summer of 2009, while the club rocketed from the bottom of the Championship to the top after installing Roy Keane as manager in 2006/07.