As expected, Sunderland have confirmed that former Newcastle midfielder Paul Bracewell is now assistant manager to Sam Allardyce.

Bracewell was one of Kevin Keegan’s earlier signings and played a key role in promotion in 1992/93 and then helping to establish United in the Premier League.

The other former Newcastle United employee is Mark Taylor, a name that few will recall.

Playing his football for home club Hartlepool and then others in the lower leagues, Taylor later graduated with a BSc in physiotherapy and MSc in sports science, first linking up with Sam Allardyce at Blackpool in 1995.

Moving forward to 2007, Mark Taylor was one of the legion of backroom staff that Sam Allardyce added to the payroll at St James Park and now he is doing the same at Sunderland.

Taylor is Sunderland’s new performance director and will oversee sports science, strength and conditioning, medical, performance analysis and the first-team coaching staff.

Sam Allardyce:

“Areas such as sports science and performance analysis are absolutely crucial in the modern game.

“Mark has a tremendous amount of experience and expertise in these key disciplines and he will help us to ensure that our players reach their maximum potential.

“I am delighted to welcome Mark to the club.”

Mark Taylor:

“I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to work with Sam again, especially at a club with such a great history and tradition.

“I was born and brought up in the North East so this appointment takes on an extra special resonance for me.

“There is a good group of players and staff at the club. Of course we all recognise we are in a special situation at the moment and we know we need to improve.

“That is the challenge ahead for me and everyone involved with the first-team and I can’t wait to get started.”