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Friday, 11 October, 2002, 06:35 GMT 07:35 UK
Tough task for Wilkinson
New Sunderland manager Howard Wilkinson
Wilkinson's appointment has not been met with delight

Former Sunderland winger Chris Waddle believes Howard Wilkinson faces a tough task in winning the fans over at the Stadium of Light.

Wilkinson replaced Peter Reid as boss of the Black Cats on Thursday, but his appointment has not been met with delight by the club's fans.


Howard has always been renowned as playing very direct football
Chris Waddle

And Waddle believes the new manager and his new assistant Steve Cotterill will need to act fast if they are to be a success in the North East.

"When you go to a club you often get two or three months to make changes and reorganise," he told BBC Sport Online.

"But the reaction of a lot of fans is they don't seem too enthusiastic so it is going to be hard work from day one.

"Howard has got a lot of respect in the game, but it's going to take time to adjust, it's a tall order going back into the Premiership.

Chris Waddle
Waddle was a hit on Wearside

"He's going to have to win the fans over and get them on his side and it's going to be very difficult.

"The first game is against West Ham, they are capable of beating them but they need a result and that will give them time."

Wilkinson earned a reputation for route-one football during spells with Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds.

And Waddle, who was highly popular during a short spell with Sunderland at the end of the 1996-97 season, feels that may not go down too well.

"Expectations are very high in the North East and the Sunderland fans are very frustrated," he said.

"They want to see entertaining football and it will be interesting to see how they shape the team and how they want to play and that will be a major factor in whether the fans take to them quickly.

"When he was at Sheffield he was very keen on fitness and they did play very direct football.

"I think once you get a tag it's very hard to change it in football and Howard has always been renowned as playing very direct, just as Steve Cotterill has.

"I know the Sunderland fans appreciated Peter Reid but they were quite direct at times. The fans want to see more football."

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New Sunderland boss Howard Wilkinson
"I knew this was the right place for me"
Chris Waddle
"It's going to be very difficult for him"
 VOTE RESULTS
Will Howard Wilkinson keep Sunderland up?

Yes
 25.93% 

No
 74.07% 

18616 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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11 Oct 02 | Sunderland
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