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Di Canio tipped to be Sunderland boss

Paolo Di Canio is the surprise early favourite to succeed Martin O'Neill as Sunderland manager.

• Heneage on O'Neill's tenure
• Blog: O'Neill pays the price

Bookmakers have installed the former Swindon manager as odds-on favourite to take over at the Stadium of Light, with Sunderland officials believed to be eager to have a new man on the touchline before their Premier League trip to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next Sunday.

Indeed, reports on Sunday suggested the ex-West Ham forward was travelling to Wearside to open talks with the struggling club, ahead of possible confirmation within 24 hours.

Di Canio was strongly linked with the vacancy at Reading following Brian McDermott's sacking, yet the Italian would be a surprise choice to take over at Sunderland due to his lack of top flight experience.

Out-of-work managers Roberto Di Matteo, Mark Hughes and Steve McClaren also feature in the early betting, with Brighton boss Gus Poyet listed among the list of candidates.

Sunderland parted company with O'Neill on Saturday evening after a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United, with the club having managed just three points from the last 24 available.

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