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Following Martin O'Neill's departure, Willie Duncan examines Paddy Power's betting market of potential replacements for the Northern Irish boss at the Stadium of Light

Sunderland parted company with manager Martin O’Neill on Saturday night following a 1-0 home defeat against Manchester United that left the Black Cats just one point clear of the Premier League relegation zone and, with just seven matches of the campaign remaining, the Northern Irishman’s replacement will face a tough task to keep the Wearside club in the top flight.

Next Sunderland manager

Odds from Paddy Power
Paolo Di Canio 3/1
Mark Hughes 3/1
Steve McClaren 5/1
Roberto Di Matteo 7/1
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 10/1
Steve Bruce 33/1
The timing of O’Neill’s departure has led many to suggest that Sunderland may have a ready-made replacement for the former Aston Villa and Celtic manager lined up but Paddy Power’s betting market on the matter suggests that the issue is far from clear-cut.

Rumours were rife on Saturday night that Sunderland executives had been in Rome in midweek and, therefore, it comes as little surprise that former Swindon Town manager Paolo Di Canio is chalked up at just 3/1 (4.0) with Paddy Power to replace O’Neill.

Former QPR boss Mark Hughes, who has been out of work since departing Loftus Road in November, shares the 'favourite' tag with Di Canio at the head of Paddy Power’s market at 3/1 (4.0) while Steve McClaren, who cut his managerial teeth at Sunderland’s local rivals Middlesbrough, is an interesting contender at 5/1 (6.0) with the Irish bookmaker.

Roberto Di Matteo, who was the first Premier League manager to be sacked this season, is available at 7/1 (8.0) with Paddy Power to take over the reins at Stadium of Light for the campaign’s denouement while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – who turned down the chance to become Aston Villa manager at the end of last season – is chalked up at 10/1 (11.0) with Paddy Power to replace O’Neill.

Despite the tight market, Sunderland owner Ellis Short’s insistence that a replacement for O’Neill would be appointed “in the coming days” suggests that Sunderland have already identified the man that they want to replace O’Neill and, therefore, the generous 3/1 (4.0) quote from Paddy Power for the flamboyant Di Canio to be the man that the Black Cats turn to in their hour of need should be snapped up.

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Paolo Di Canio to be next Sunderland manager at 3/1 (4.0) with Paddy Power

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