Gary Neville believes new Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has taken on his ‘toughest’ challenge yet in trying to save the Black Cats from relegation.
Sunderland lost at West Brom at the weekend, Allardyce’s first game in charge to leave them winless and bottom of the Premier League ahead of the Wear-Tyne derby.
Sky Sports pundit Neville, speaking on Monday Night Football, said: “They’ve gone to a man (Allardyce) who keeps teams up, who has been in this situation many times before.
“I suppose it would be opportunistic to say this was his toughest, because you always say that when it’s the one you are talking about, but this would be his toughest challenge.
“Sunderland have been teetering for a while now, and a lot of the players are still the same.
“He’ll want to pick points up in the next couple of months – he has to pick points up.
“But he’ll want to get a few of his own bodies in, people (who) he can trust, who are reliable around Christmas and January time when the window opens.”
Ahead of the Wear-Tyne derby clash, Sunderland old boy Stephane Sessegnon has been reflecting on his own memories of derby day.
Looking back on those two contrasting experiences, the current West Brom forward told the Echo: “Yes, I had some really good experiences against Newcastle, and also some bad ones.
“You’ve got to say that the best one was the 3-0 at Newcastle, where I scored and we all we played so well.
And another former Sunderland striker is in the news.
Ex-Black Cats and Liverpool front man Djibril Cisse has announced his retirement from football.
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