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Sunderland have sacked manager Mick McCarthy after three years in charge.
The club are 16 points adrift of safety at the foot of the Premiership and said it was "in the best interests of both parties for him to leave immediately".
Assistant Academy manager Kevin Ball has been put in charge for the last 10 matches of the season with a permanent appointment to be made in the summer.
"The club did not return to the Premiership just to make up the numbers and whilst we fully expected it to be a tough first season back, none of us expected to be in the position we are today.