Paolo Di Canio was sacked by Sunderland on Sunday night after festering resentments among his players came to a head at an ill-tempered training-ground meeting on Sunday morning.

Di Canio whose team had taken only one point from the season's opening five league fixtures called the meeting to analyse the previous day's 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion. When the manager criticised his players he was answered back forcefully with Lee Cattermole the midfielder he stripped of the captaincy believed to have told him the squad had lost faith in his controversial methods.

When details of the row were relayed to Ellis Short Sunderland's owner Di Canio's time was up. The Italian noted for scathing public deconstructions of players has gone less than six months after succeeding Martin O'Neill and after only 13 matches.

It is not thought that Short has a replacement lined up but considerable speculation surrounds the availability of Roberto Di Matteo and Gus Poyet.

"Sunderland AFC confirms that it has parted company with head coach Paolo Di Canio this evening" read a club statement. "Kevin Ball will take charge of the squad ahead of Tuesday night's Capital One Cup game against Peterborough and an announcement will be made in due course regarding a permanent successor. The club would like to place on record its thanks to Paolo and his staff and wishes them well for the future."

Ball the youth team coach and an abrasive former Sunderland midfielder of the type Di Canio urgently required is not likely to be in post for long. Short is expected to move swiftly with Di Matteo the former West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea manager and Poyet until recently in charge of Brighton among the favourites. Roberto Mancini out of work after leaving Manchester City has previously expressed interest in the job but would probably be beyond Sunderland's budget. Meanwhile Steve McClaren currently helping Harry Redknapp coach Queens Park Rangers ranks as an outsider.

Di Canio can count himself unlucky after being asked to incorporate 14 summer signings made by Roberto De Fanti the club's director of football. Of those recruits 13 were foreign and only five had previous Premier League experience.

Their failure to communicate properly forfeited a series of goals – and points – at set pieces with the former Swindon manager's willingness to highlight players' errors in public drawing widespread criticism.