Mick McCarthy, appointed to succeed Howard Wilkinson as manager of Sunderland, admits he is excited by thechallenge of trying to revive the struggling Premier League club.

With Sunderland seven points adrift from Premiership survival with only nine games remaining, the former Republic of Ireland manager has a mammoth task on his hands.

However, despite the club’s predicament, McCarthy remains undaunted.

‘I’m excited to be joining Sunderland and am up for the challenge ahead.’

‘In the short term we have nine remaining games this season and, of course, I will be concentrating on lifting the players to get the best possible results in these.

‘I’m also excited about the long-term. This is a great club and it deserves success.’

Meanwhile, the club confirmed that they view McCarthy as a long-term appointment.

Sunderland vice-chairman John Fickling said: ‘It has been a difficult period for the club and its supporters but we’re delighted to have secured the services of Mick McCarthy who is well respected in the world of football.

‘We have made this change now because we feel it is in the best interests of the club and its supporters.

‘It was important that we acted swiftly to secure the services of a manager who would undoubtedly have been pursued by several clubs during the summer months and by appointing Mick now, we are giving him the opportunity to get to know the players and the club and form a long-term development strategy for the summer and beyond.

‘This decision is not about the last nine games or our Premiership survival – although this is important. It has been taken for the long term.

‘We believe that today’s appointment will be a crucial turning point and that Mick will halt the club’s decline and revive our fortunes on the pitch.

‘I hope all supporters will join me in welcoming Mick to Sunderland and get behind him and the team.’