Sunderland confirm appointment of ex-Leeds United coach to Alex Neil's backroom staff

Sunderland have confirmed the appointment of Alessandro Barcherini as their new head of goalkeeping.

Barcherini has joined from Leeds United, where he worked under Marcelo Bielsa and Jesse Marsch in his roles as first-team assistant goalkeeping Coach and head of academy goalkeeping.

The 36-year-old will start work at the Academy of Light on Thursday ahead of the team’s trip to Bristol City on Saturday.

Sunderland have been recruiting for the position following the departure of David Preece earlier this summer, with Mark Prudhoe carrying out the role on an interim basis during the pre-season programme.

Sunderland have made a key appointment to Alex Neil's backroom staff

Prudhoe will continue to play an integral role in the club’s academy operation.

Barcherini has also in his career worked at Notts County, Nottingham Forest and Stoke City.

“I’m very excited to be joining Sunderland AFC and I can’t wait to get started,” Barcherini said.

"There’s a lot of similarities in the journey that Leeds United went on during my time at Elland Road and I’ve seen what the progression looks like, but more importantly I’ve seen what it looks like through the eyes of a young goalkeeper.

"There’s a lot of good people at SAFC and they have a proud tradition of producing top goalkeepers, so we want to continue that pathway and ensure our youngsters know they can progress through our academy and play for their local club.”

Sunderland are in a busy of period of rebuilding behind the scenes, with Lewis Dickman leaving his role as Academy Manager earlier this week.

Stuart English, the club’s head of coaching now acting as interim academy manager, said: “Throughout a detailed recruitment process, it became clear that Alessandro was the standout candidate for this role. He’s gained valuable experience working in three category one academies and been part of a successful senior set-up in the Championship and Premier League.

"Alessandro, who’s role will be to ensure every goalkeeper at SAFC has the best individualised programme to maximise their potential, will bring fresh ideas and training methods to our existing goalkeeping programme by working alongside Mark Prudhoe to enhance our existing offering.”

Sunderland are still recruiting for a new U23 lead coach and a new head of professional development phase, after Michael Proctor and Mike Dodds were permanently promoted to the first-team staff.