Watmore Out For The Season
Duncan Watmore will not play again this season. The 22-year old was stretchered off in Saturday's match against Leicester with an apparent knee injury and it has been confirmed he has suffered serious cruciate ligament damage.
Watmore's injury is yet another setback for David Moyes in a season plagued by injuries, especially in midfield.
Paddy McNair was also recently ruled out for the rest of the campaign and Lee Cattermole will be missing until February-time having undergone surgery in America on a hip injury. Lyndon Gooch is also out for at least eight weeks with a serious ankle injury.
Sebastian Larsson and Jan Kirchhoff have provided some welcome news with their second-half returns to the first team at the weekend, and Fabio Borini may yet feature before Christmas. But Moyes must be wondering how his middle-of-the-park options became so cursed since his arrival at the Stadium of Light in July.
The other devastating factor in this for Duncan Watmore though, is the risk he might not make next summer's Under-21 Euro 2017 tournament in Poland.
The competition begins in June with England kicking off the prestige competition with a tie against Sweden.
Watmore and teammate, Jordan Pickford, are both eligible to play having been under the age of 21 when the competition kicked off in 2015. Whether Watmore will be fit or be able to attain match fitness in time for June now looks in jeopardy.
For the young forward though, the news is devastating in what was beginning to shape up to be his 'break-through' season into the top tier of English football.
Burnley In The FA Cup
The draw for the FA Cup third round took place earlier this evening. Probably the last thing David Moyes would have wanted is a tie against a fellow Premier League opponent, though Sunderland will at least face Burnley at home.
The fixture will take place on the weekend of the 6th January and it may be the last game in which Sunderland's Africa Cup of Nations stars feature before heading for Gabon to take their places in the tournament which starts the following week.
Lamine Kone, Wahbi Khazri and Didier Ndong will certainly be named in their national teams when the final line-ups are announced during the course of the next week or so, and Papy Djilobodji has an outside chance of making the Senegal squad. The 27-year-old Sunderland defender is currently out of favour with his national coach but his recent improved Premier League performances may just see him force his way in.
Lee Congerton To The MLS
Sunderland Director of Football, Lee Congerton, was placed on gardening leave roughly 12 months ago; and in case you were wondering what had happened to him, well - his period of notice is about up on his Sunderland contract, so he will be on the hunt for his next challenge in the coming weeks.
Roker Report got wise to something afoot when American folks started getting in touch via twitter to fish for information and hunt out articles we're previously written about the departed, but still on the payroll, former Chelsea and Hamburg man.
Reports in America have claimed MLS outfit, San Jose Earthquakes, have identified Congerton on a five-man shortlist to become their next General Manager (GM). A GM is roughly equivalent to a DoF in the world of American soccer.
Congerton's period with Sunderland was largely unsuccessful with the odd-highlight. At times it appeared his data-driven Moneyball approach to recruitment lacked the sophistication to drive a budget-oriented English Premier League side. However, there were successes, such as the signing of Jermain Defoe, Fabio Borini and, dare we say it - Billy Jones - who has risen like a phoenix in recent weeks.
But, for every decent signing there was a list of failures such as Ricardo Alvarez, Ignacio Scocco and Jordi Gomez all of whom's presumed 'stats' belied an inability to translate to the rigours of the Premier League.
The reports linking Congerton to San Jose, which have featured across the likes of ESPN in the last few days, state that a decision will be reached on Wednesday. Christmas could be coming early for Sunderland's 'failed' and final Director of Football!