Ball wants new Sunderland manager appointed during international break

Kevin Ball believes it would be better for everyone if Sunderland named their next manager in the forthcoming international break

Kevin Ball
Sunderland caretaker manager, Kevin Ball

Kevin Ball believes it would be better for everyone if Sunderland named their next manager in the forthcoming international break.

He has no fears about risking his future at the club by putting his name in the frame.

Tomorrow evening’s televised game at home to Manchester United is the Black Cats’ last before the Premier League takes a back seat to international football.

Caretaker manager Ball feels it provides a much-needed opportunity to bring clarity to the managerial situation.

Sunderland showed an early interest in Gustavo Poyet after sacking Paolo Di Canio as manager two weeks ago. What initially appeared to be a process of due diligence now seems more like cold feet over the controversial Uruguayan.

The club announced at the start of the week Ball would remain in temporary control for the Red Devils’ game, but beyond that he sees the need for greater certainty.

He said: “I think it’s important we all know. If a new man comes in, he needs that period of time to sort things out.

“If it’s me who takes over, I need that time to do what I want to do.

“I think everybody will be quite understanding of that. What’s important now is that we get behind everybody for the game on Saturday night. Then on Sunday whatever happens happens.”

Chairman Ellis Short is yet to speak face-to-face to Ball about the position.

Ball added: “We’ve had phone calls. I’ve spoken to different people at the club.

“We agreed about doing the Manchester United game.

“Then I just said I’d like toknow what is going to happen after that.

“If it meant it dragged on a couple of days next week, so be it.

“I think everybody would like to say, ‘Well let’s get something settled now’, and the ideal opportunity would be then.

“I think the club as a whole would like that as well.”

The former captain has a very secure position coaching the club’s under-21s, but taking on the manager’s job full-time would end his long association with Sunderland eventually.

He said: “Was I conscious of that? Yes. My association with the club has been 20-odd years.

“I am interested in the job. If somebody else has come in, if they get it, happy days, they have my full support.

“I go back to what I do which is to hopefully produce players for this club, and I love doing that. That is a massive buzz for me.

“Yet that is a risk I am prepared to take.

“If it clouded anything which has happened in the past, if things weren’t to go to plan in the future, well that’s life, but I think what people will always have at the back of their mind is what I was like as a player and a coach.

“If you step into the chair as head coach or manager, that is like a new chapter. If that is the case, judge me on that chapter.

“I would always remember those times and think to myself, well if they have the hump because things didn’t go great as a manager, that’s something I’ve got to deal with.

“It would never change the way I felt about them.

“I am quite comfortable about that.”

Ball will be without last season’s top-scorer Steven Fletcher tomorrow, but he is hopeful the Scot might return from a dislocated shoulder for the next game at Swansea City a fortnight tomorrow.

He added: “I’d imagine that’s what we will aim for,.

“We said four to six weeks (at the time he picked up the injury, in Di Canio’s final game at West Bromwich Albion).

“He is running now. They said four to six weeks and he might be aiming for the back end of the international break.”

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