Pierre van Hooijdonk's comments on Dick Advocaat are encouraging for Sunderland fans

Former Premier League striker Pierre van Hooijdonk believes Dick Advocaat is just the man to drag Sunderland away from the relegation zone.

Former Celtic and Nottingham Forest striker Pierre van Hooijdonk has told the Daily Mirror that Sunderland have made a great appointment in Dick Advocaat.

Advocaat, 67, returned to British football on Tuesday, 15 years after leaving Rangers as he became the new Sunderland manager.

The Black Cats sacked Gus Poyet on Monday after a humiliating 4-0 home defeat to Aston Villa, and moved quickly to bring in Dutchman Advocaat with time running out on their survival hopes.

Sunderland lie just one point and one place above the relegation zone, and the threat of relegation to the Championship is looming large after just four wins all season.

However, Advocaat brings a wealth of experience with him to Wearside, and is effectively working until the end of the season with the hope of convincing the Sunderland board to give him a longer deal at the Stadium of Light.

Now, van Hooijdonk - a familiar name to Premier League fans after 41 goals in 77 games for Nottingham Forest in the 1990's - has told the Daily Mirror that Advocaat is the perfect manager for Sunderland right now, having worked under Advocaat with the Dutch national team.

"He’s one of those coaches who loves to be in charge of everything,” said van Hooijdonk. "He’s a little man, and little men always try to be big. I don’t mean that in a funny way, but he’s a coach who can win the players over. I think, in the short period of time he has got at Sunderland, that is what is necessary."

Advocaat will need to use all of his experience to keep Sunderland in the Premier League - but words of encouragement from ex-players who featured under his management will be music to the ears of Sunderland fans as they prepare to watch their side take on West Ham United this weekend.

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