Black Friday Clear-Out
Sunderland AFC have announced that long-serving manager of the Academy of Light, Ged McNamee, is to step down from his role.
McNamee has been part of the staff at Sunderland for twenty years. As manager of the academy, he has been responsible for the development of young players aged 8 years and up.
The 56-year-old took up his current role in 2004 having previously worked at Manchester United. McNamee was formerly a player on the books of Hartlepool United, amongst others.
The Academy of Light had been something of a slow-burner until recent years when the likes of Jordan Pickford and Lyndon Gooch have graduated from the youth ranks into the first team. England and Liverpool midfielder, Jordan Henderson, has been the biggest name to emerge from the Sunderland academy.
In a statement on the club's official website, McNamee said about his decision to step down:
I have enjoyed twenty very memorable years at Sunderland and have had some incredible times, including seeing one of our own captain England recently
The academy is in a good place and it feels like the right time for me to hand over the reigns.
New Chief Executive, Martin Bain, has placed his thanks on record in the statement. But, McNamee's departure continues a continued reshaping of the set-up at Sunderland AFC since the new CEO arrived in the summer, replacing the long-departed Margaret Byrne.
Other high profile members of staff to have departed recently have included former club doctor, Ishtiaq Rehman, who left a few weeks ago, with the official reason stated as being "to further his career"; and Head of Football Operations, Ryan Sachs, also departed during the summer.
Borini Back For Christmas?
David Moyes says forward, Fabio Borini, might be back in the Sunderland squad before Christmas.
The Italian has yet to rejoin full training but Moyes believes he could be back limbering up with the senior squad in a matter of weeks.
Borini has been out of the side since the 1-1 draw at Southampton at the end of August. In a bizarre injury, caused by kicking the ground as he took a free-kick, the 25-year old ripped his abductor muscle from the bone.
The news is welcome for a squad which has been ravaged by injuries since Moyes took over in July. Several first-team players have suffered significant lay-offs including Jan Kirchhoff and Sebastian Larsson. Lee Cattermole has been ruled out for four months and Paddy McNair is the latest casualty, ruled out for the season with a cruciate ligament injury picked up in last week's victory against Hull City.
Larsson Has Travelled To Liverpool
With Paddy McNair vacating a midfield berth following his season-long lay-off, an opportunity lies waiting for someone to replace him in the middle of the park tomorrow at Anfield.
So, the news that Sebastian Larsson has travelled to Merseyside this afternoon with the squad to face Liverpool indicates the Swede may be in contention for a spot as substitute. Moyes indicated that Larsson may not be involved much beyond the bench for tomorrow's game though.
Steven Pienaar is the most likely to benefit from McNair's injury. The 35-year-old former Everton man missed last week's match through suspension and is back available for selection.
Meanwhile, Jan Kirchhoff is back in full training, having made his return in an Under-23 fixture during the week. But the German midfielder is a few weeks away yet from Premier League action.