- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SUNDERLAND, England (AP) - Sunderland has hired a new sporting director to work alongside manager Gus Poyet at the relegation-threatened Premier League team.

Lee Congerton, a 40-year-old Welshman, joins Sunderland from German club Hamburg, where he worked as technical director.

He will oversee player recruitment and the scouting operation at the Stadium of Light and effectively replaces Roberto De Fanti, who left his role as the club’s director of football in January.

Sunderland chief executive Margaret Byrne says “Lee is very highly regarded within football circles and we have been very impressed by him.”

After his playing career was cut short by injury, Congerton was part of the coaching staff at Liverpool and Chelsea before joining Hamburg.

Sunderland is second-bottom in the Premier League, but has games in hand over the other relegation candidates.