Di Canio handed safety mission

01 April 2013 03:33:54 EST
Martin O'Neill was shown the door by Sunderland after a poor run of form.

Paolo Di Canio has been given the task of saving Sunderland from the threat of relegation after agreeing a two-and-a-half-year contract at the Stadium of Light.

Di Canio has seven games to ensure that the Black Cats escape the drop, with the Wearsiders just one point above the drop zone after a run of eight games without a win which led to the sacking of Martin O'Neill.

The sole focus of everyone for the next seven games will be to ensure we gain enough points to maintain our top-flight status.

Ellis Short

Sunderland are 20/1 to be relegated, with Wigan Athletic 1/33 and Newcastle United 33/1.

Black Cats chairman Ellis Short is confident that former Swindon boss Di Canio is the right man for the job, telling the club's official website: "Paolo is hugely enthused by the challenge that lies ahead of him. He is passionate, driven and raring to get started.

"The sole focus of everyone for the next seven games will be to ensure we gain enough points to maintain our top-flight status.

"I think that the chances of that are greatly increased with Paolo joining us."

Di Canio's first game in charge is a tough trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday 7th April, with the Black Cats having lost their last four clashes with the Blues.

However, they won 3-0 at the home of the Blues in the Premier League in November 2010, with Nedum Onuoha, Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck their goalscorers.

Sunderland are 5/1 to gain a draw at Stamford Bridge and are 9/1 to keep a clean sheet, with Chelsea 2/7 to win the game.

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