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No knee-slides or fist-pumps this time but Dick knows exactly what's at stake.

Byline: James HUNTER

BLACK CATS AIMING FOR BACKROOM STABILITY BACKROOM boys Paul Bracewell and Adrian Tucker could stay on Sunderland's first-team coaching staff beyond the summer.

Following the departure of Gus Poyet and his team - assistant Mauricio Taricco, coach Charlie Oatway, goalkeeping coach Andy Beasley, and fitness coach Antonio Pintus - a fortnight ago, Sunderland installed Dutchman Dick Advocaat as head coach until the end of the season.

Advocaat brought with him his long-time assistant Bert van Lingen and firstteam coach Zeljko Petrovic, but Sunderland also took the opportunity to promote ex-player Bracewell (pictured) from his role with the academy to work with the senior players, and also appointed former Swansea and England Under-20 goalkeeping coach Tucker.

So far Advocaat has given no indication whether he wants to prolong his stay beyond his initial two-month contract, even if he succeeds in keeping the club in the Premier League.

However, the chances are the 67-year-old will move on, with van Lingen and Petrovic leaving with him.

But it is understood that Bracewell and Tucker are likely to work under any new head coach installed in the summer.

Sunderland's last four managerial appointments - Steve Bruce, Martin O'Neill, Paolo Di Canio and Poyet - all arrived with their own backroom staff, all of whom also departed en masse.

The Black Cats are keen to reduce that turnover, and bring more stability to the coaching staff.

Sunderland's preferred long-term option as head coach is believed to be current Real Madrid assistant coach Paul Clement, and if he swaps Spain for the Stadium of Light this summer Bracewell and Tucker could be integrated into his regime.

THERE will be no pre-match premonitions.

No knee-slides along the touchline. No st-pumping in front of the fans. But this weekend's Wear-Tyne derby matters just as much to Sunderland's current boss Dick Advocaat, as the 3-0 win on Tyneside did to Paolo Di Canio two years ago.

at is not to airbrush Gus Poyet's three derby victories from history - nothing of the sort.

Poyet's league double over Newcastle United last season - the club's rst since 1967 - and December's win at St James' Park, all deserve their place in derby folklore.

But now, as in 2013 under Di Canio, Sunderland are staring into the relegation Abyss.

And a new coach has been brought in to dig them out of trouble.

Both Di Canio and Advocaat lost their rst game in charge after taking over. Di Canio came to grief at Chelsea, while Advocaat suered a late knockout blow at West Ham.

But Di Canio instantly got Sunderland back on course with that famous derby win, and went on to keep the club in the Premier League with a game to spare.

Advocaat needs to pull o a similar trick.

Because Sunderland are in free-fall, hurtling towards Championship oblivion.

Since Poyet's Sunderland beat Newcastle four days before Christmas, the Black Cats have managed just one league win - against relegation rivals Burnley - and collected just seven points from 13 games.

Another derby win would at least arrest their slump, keep them clear of the bottom three, and inject some much-needed condence into the players and longsu ering fans. It would rekindle the belief on Wearside that, for a third Successive season, Sunderland can dodge the drop.

Because, after being Dragged out of danger by Di Canio in 2013, and last year's 'miracle' escape under Poyet, Sunderland should not have found themselves in this backsagainst-the-wall situation once again.

e powers-that-be must ask themselves how clubs such as Southampton, Swansea City and Stoke - all sides with lower gates and less resources than the Black Cats - have forged ahead while Sunderland continue to struggle.

CAPTION(S):

Paolo Di Canio made a losing start to his Sunderland reign, but then the Black Cats followed up with derby victory | against Newcastle (above). Current Black Cats boss Dick Advocaat (left) will be hoping to pull off a similar feat in his second game in charge, after losing to West Ham United in his first game in the Stadium of Light hotseat
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 31, 2015
Words:671
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