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Under-pressure Gus Poyet cut in Premier League sack race

Coral now make Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet their 9/4 second-favourite in the next Premier League manager to leave market, following an FA Cup fifth round exit at third-tier team Bradford City.

That giant-killing comes after just one league win in eight outings since the Black Cats beat bitter rivals Newcastle United in the Tyne-Wear derby before Christmas.

Poyet’s winter window capture of proven Premier League poacher Jermain Defoe, while simultaneously offloading American target man flop Jozy Altidore, was hailed as a coup, but the ex-England international has scored just twice in six outings so far. Defoe was also left out of the squad for Sunderland’s last outing.

Press reports claim Poyet is safe for the immediate future, but Black Cats owner Ellis Short has axed the likes of Steve Bruce, Martin O’Neill and the Uruguayan’s controversial predecessor Paolo Di Canio when the northeast club have posted previous poor runs of form.

Sunderland have won just one game in all competitions in February so far, an FA Cup replay against second-tier team Fulham, but have drawn blanks in both of their last two outings.

Poyet remains a Premier League draw specialist, with a dozen shares of the spoils this season to go with seven last term following his appointment in October 2013, with 10 of those 19 being 0-0 stalemates.

Behind Aston Villa, who dismissed manager Paul Lambert last week and replaced him with ex-Spurs head coach Tim Sherwood, the Black Cats are the joint-second lowest Premier League scorers, with fellow strugglers Leicester City, on 22 goals.

Winger Adam Johnson and injury-prone striker Steven Fletcher are equal leading marksmen for Sunderland on four league strikes apiece. Fellow Black Cats forward Connor Wickham and set-piece specialist Sebastian Larsson have three each, with new signing Defoe joining penalty taker Jordi Gomez on two.

If Poyet cannot address this dearth in attack, then his job is surely under threat, not to mention Sunderland’s top-flight status. They are 5/1 for the drop.