Eric Black stands in as Sunderland boss

Eric Black
Eric Black
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ERIC Black will be in the dugout for Sunderland’s game against Wolves tomorrow, even though Martin O’Neill is expected to be confirmed as the club’s new manager ahead of the game.

Assistant manager Black has been in charge of first-team affairs since Steve Bruce was sacked on Wednesday afternoon.

It is arguably a more anxious time for Sunderland’s backroom staff than it is for the club’s players, with O’Neill likely to want to bring his own staff in when he takes over.

But after a planned day off on Thursday, Black has been determined that the manager’s dismissal does not distract from the important Premier League game awaiting Sunderland tomorrow.

The scheduled pre-match Press conference yesterday morning with Black was cancelled with the club not wanting to send out mixed messages, given O’Neill’s signing was potentially imminent.

But Black did point out: “It is important that everyone is focused on the game and prepares in the right manner so that’s what we’ll be concentrating on up until the match itself.

“Naturally it’s a difficult time for everyone at the club but we have to be professional and get on with the job in hand.

“Mick McCarthy will have his players up for this, there’s no doubt about that.

“Molineux is always a tough place to go, as we’ve found out over the last couple of years.

“Wolves have always been strong at home and there’ll be no room for letting up on our part.

“The game will be as tough as they come but we’ll go there looking to do everything we can in the situation.”

Little has emerged publicly from the club this week as it concentrates on tying up the move to bring in Martin O’Neill as Bruce’s successor

And the most likely scenario remains that O’Neill be appointed and in the stands at Molineux while the highly experienced Black will be in charge of the team.

That will be no problem for the 48-year-old Scot who is a former successful manager of Motherwell and Coventry City and he was also briefly caretaker at Birmingham City in 2007.