Former boss Peter Reid says Paolo Di Canio can keep Sunderland up - but must keep his 'explosive' personality in check.
The Black Cats appointed Di Canio as Martin O'Neill's replacement last week even though the Italian had previously stated that he is a fascist, before saying in a statement that he does not support the ideology.
Speaking ahead of Di Canio's first game in charge, away at Chelsea, Reid told Goals on Sunday that Sunderland have it all to do if they are to stay out of the bottom three but believes that the club he managed from 1995-2002 will not be playing Championship football next season.
"I'm not being cynical and trying to avoid the 'controversy' about Paolo's appointment but the bottom line is that it's going to be hard," said Reid, who made 656 Career appearances for seven clubs between 1974 and1995.
"His first couple of games are Chelsea away and Newcastle away but if he keeps them up and gets results, the majority of supporters - because you won't please everybody - will get behind him.
"I think he can keep them up but I think it's going to be very, very difficult for him [to manage in the Premier League] because he's got an explosive personality.
"With great respect to Swindon, who are a great football club, the Barclays Premier League is world-wide and everything you do is highlighted and magnified.
"Politics and football don't mix but if you want to own a Premier League club you've got to pass a certain test - haven't you?
"The owners have made the decision to appoint him and it's a brave one. Whether it will work out or not, I don't know. Do politics and football mix? David Miliband seems to have his own point of view. It's a personal thing."
Reid's fellow Goals on Sunday guest, former England striker Teddy Sheringham, did not play for the same team as Di Canio during a career spanning 929 career appearances across nine clubs.
But he said the Italian's colourful past as a player could work against him as a top-flight manager.
"If he signs a temperamental player like himself, how does he deal with that player?" asked Sheringham. "What does he do? Does he go and sit down on the pitch with him? He's got to try and get inside his head.
"Di Canio has obviously had manager along the way who are experienced men. Along the way they've probably tried to explain to him 'come on, you can't sit down'.
"He's obviously done well at Swindon. He got through to his players there, so why not step up? Sunderland are judging him because of football results and how he's treated his players.
"There are one or two stories coming out but I'm sure that they are going to. They've probably gone into the background of that. They know that they like his style, so give him a chance. Why not?"