With the decision to sack previous manager Gus Poyet hardly having had time to settle in for the clearly unhappy Sunderland fans, they now have a new man at the helm to get used to and no doubt the club hierarchy hope, to get behind, in the form of Dick Advocaat. The former Netherlands coach and Rangers boss steps into the hot seat for the Black Cats until the end of the season, as the club clearly want their new man to have as much time as possible, to get on with the tricky task of avoiding relegation from the Premier League.

Poyet was only sacked by the club yesterday, a response to the perilous position that they find themselves in after a dismal 4-0 home defeat to Aston Villa at the weekend.

With just one point and one place separating them from the bottom three, the club's short term targets are abundantly clear in the 9 games that remain until the end of their campaign.

Club chairman Ellis Short is in no doubt what is required: "We have one aim only now - to climb the table - and everyone is fully focussed on the task ahead of us."

The 67-year-old Advocaat is no stranger to British football fans, having spent four years at the helm of Rangers, while they were still part of the Scottish Premiership and winning trophies seemingly for fun, although he has never previously managed in England. Indeed he won the league and cup double twice north of the border, while at the Glasgow club.

His impressive CV also boasts domestic titles in Holland and Russia, besides international experience with the national sides of Belgium, Russia and Serbia among others, besides the Dutch side twice.

His age makes him a slightly interesting choice for the manager's job (the oldest in the Premier League) and perhaps suggests that it is very much a temporary appointment, as Sunderland clearly hope that his experience will engender respect from all those involved in their fight for survival.

He will utilise Zeljko Petrovic as his first-team coach.

Advocaat's first game in charge will be a tricky away trip to West Ham at the weekend, where he will no doubt hope that the 'new boss effect' in combination with the Hammers recent poor run of form, allows the side to get off to a positive start. After that he can expect a warm reception for the Tyne-Wear derby at home to Newcastle, with the matches not getting any easier - they face Arsenal, Stoke, Everton and Chelsea on the road before the end of the season.

Their last three home games at home to Crystal Palace, Southampton and Leicester are likely to prove crucial one feels.