PAUL Bracewell’s presence in Dick Advocaat’s backroom team has been welcomed by the new Sunderland boss.
Ex-Sunderland midfielder Bracewell has spent the past two years working at the Academy of Light as a development coach with the Under-18 and Under-21 squads, but has now stepped up to the first-team to help new head coach Advocaat.
Sporting director Lee Congerton wanted Bracewell – who made 270 appearances for Sunderland during three spells as a player, before becoming assistant manager to Peter Reid – to bring Advocaat up to speed with the Black Cats squad and the challenges facing them in the Premier League.
And ex-Holland manager Advocaat believes Bracewell will be an asset in helping him acclimatise, particularly when there is no margin for Sunderland to take their time in adjusting to the new man at the helm.
Advocaat said: “It’s been helpful.
“Lee told me that he wanted to bring him (Bracewell) in to help the squad.
“I think with his experience, it is a great move.”
Sunderland confirmed that Advocaat would be joined by first-team coach Zeljko Petrovic and goalkeeping coach, Adrian Tucker when he was appointed as Gus Poyet’s successor earlier this week.
And Advocaat has also been joined by his long-term assistant Bert van Lingen.
Van Lingen, 69, worked alongside Advocaat for Rangers, Holland, Zenit St Petersburg, Belgium and Russia.
Bracewell, meanwhile, knows the strengths and weaknesses of those youngsters hoping to push their way into first-team contention under a new manager, having helped with the development of the U21 squad.
Winger Duncan Watmore is understood to have travelled with the first-team squad for Sunderland’s game at West Ham today and could be included on the bench.
Advocaat has been impressed by Watmore’s enthusiasm on the training ground this week, but admits he has to be cautious over throwing youngsters into a relegation dogfight.
“He (Watmore) has shown a lot of confidence,” added Advocaat.
“Some of the other young guys have trained with us as well, so that gives us a good feeling for them.
“But I also know that in this situation you can’t take too many risks with young players. The experienced players have to do it, though.”