Sam Allardyce has the hunger and appetite to turn Sunderland around as he breezes through first press conference

Sam Allardyce.
Sam Allardyce.
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With more than 400 games as a manager in the Premier League, Sam Allardyce is no stranger to the glaring spotlight of the media.

And the former Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham boss breezed through his unveiling as the new Black Cats boss.

Big Sam is an old hand and one the Sunderland board believe can steer the club away from another season of relegation struggle.

Judging by his first press conference in front of the North East press pack, one thing Allardyce isn’t short of is confidence in his own ability.

And with an impressive record behind him - including having never been relegated from the top flight - then he has every reason to.

Allardyce spoke well, he was confident and clear as to what lies ahead for himself and the Sunderland squad he has inherited.

It was a packed schedule, with interviews with television and radio stations plus the written press and, of course, the obligatory shots of the new manager with club scarf and football.

The new boss spoke at length, and in-depth, about his plans for Sunderland, potential signings, and plans for his back-room staff.

Looking tanned and healthy, he said all the right things to a packed press room, joking that he hoped to be staying in the North East longer than his previous two spells.

Allardyce spent a year at Sunderland as a player and was part of Peter Reid’s backroom staff, while he lasted just eight months as manager of Newcastle United.

One thing is clear though, experienced Allardyce has nothing to prove as he looks to build on the legacy created by Reid.

After his contract with West Ham wasn’t renewed in the summer, Allardyce broke off his sabbatical from football early to sign a two-year deal at the club.

He could easily have stayed sunning himself in his Spanish Villa, while continuing his work as a television pundit and promoting his new autobiography which hits shelves later this month.

But after discussions with his wife, Allardyce decided he was ready for the challenge of turning around Sunderland’s season.

Relaxing in his chair at the Academy of Light, Allardyce reflected: “I like a challenge and this is a challenge in terms of the position the club is in.”

That challenge is a steep one and arguably one of the toughest of his managerial career.

Sunderland are second bottom, five points adrift from safety and while only eight games have passed the Black Cats’ recent struggles suggest a season-long battle against the drop is on the cards.

No easy task but Allardyce firmly believes he is the right man to change around the fortunes of the squad.

With 11 of the first team squad away on international duty, Allardyce has spent his first two days at the Academy of Light getting to know those players that remained in the North East and familiarising himself with his new surroundings and backroom staff.

Those away representing their countries will arrive back later this week, giving Allardyce a short window of opportunity to hammer home some of his key messages ahead of the tricky trip to West Brom on Saturday.

Allardyce will be hoping for an instant reaction that usually favours the appointment of new manager’s, the honeymoon period.

Lord knows Sunderland could do with an extended spell of form given their dreadful start to the 2015-16 campaign. They couldn’t have a more experienced manager guiding them along the way.

And while ‘Big Sam’ may be an old hand, a footballing dinosaur he is not.

Allardyce’s preparation is meticulous, just ask former Sunderland striker Michael Bridges who worked under him at Bolton Wanderers, who revealed the depth of Allardyce’s preparation to the Echo this week.

His attention to detail is well known, using the latest technology and ProZone stats to analyse every detail of the opposition and adapt his tactics accordingly.

It will be up to the Sunderland squad to adapt to his way of working quickly, if they are to avoid another 10-month relegation battle.

If his first presser is anything to go by, Allardyce clearly has the hunger and the appetite to steer the Black Cats on to a sounder footing.

Is the current squad up to the same challenge? Black Cats fans wait with baited breath.