Sunderland have handed Phil Parkinson the task of dragging the club out of League One as he targets the fourth promotion of his managerial career.
The 51-year-old has been appointed the new Black Cats boss on a two-and-a-half-year deal following the departure of Jack Ross earlier this month.
Former Southampton, Bury and Reading midfielder Parkinson, who has achieved promotion with Colchester, Bradford and Bolton, will be assisted at the Stadium of Light by Steve Parkin.
He said: “It is both a privilege and immense responsibility to be appointed manager of this great club.
“I’ve been in football a long time now, and Sunderland’s immense history, the passion of its fanbase and its wonderful facilities are legendary within the game.
“It’s now up to me to build on the work of my predecessor and deliver the success the fans are so desperate for. This is a good squad of players, and I relish the challenge of working with them to achieve our goal of promotion from League One.”
Sunderland missed out on promotion at the end of last season under Ross when they were beaten by Charlton in the League One play-off final at Wembley having drawn 19 of their 46 regular-season games.
They currently sit ninth in the third tier, their second season in the division following back-to-back relegations from the Premier League and the Sky Bet Championship.
Ross’ team had lost only two games all season and reached the last 16 in the Carabao Cup, but sections of the fanbase were unhappy with the Scot’s style of play and team selections.
Chairman Stewart Donald said: “Phil has a proven track record when it comes to achieving promotion and I’m delighted to welcome him to Sunderland.
“During a rigorous recruitment process, it gradually became clear that he was the prime candidate to take the club forward. His CV put him on our shortlist. His references from within the game set him apart.
“I hope that Sunderland fans will all join me in welcoming him to our historic club, as we look forward to an exciting few months.”
Parkinson, who left his post at crisis-torn Bolton in August after three years, met the players and took training at the Academy of Light on Thursday morning and will be in the dugout for the first time on Saturday when his team heads for Wycombe.