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The Roker Roundup: Tuesday 16th February 2016

Who is Laurent Depoitre?

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Jan Kirchhoff will miss a couple of weeks due to the hamstring problem he sustained in Saturday's game with Manchester United.

The giant German last only fifteen minutes before succumbing to injury and, although it was initially feared it could have resulted in a lengthy spell on the sidelines, Sam Allardyce has suggested that Kirchhoff might not miss any football at all, with our next game not until the end of this month.

Allardyce said:

[The new boys were] absolutely fantastic, apart from Jan who picked up the hamstring, but hopefully he'll be fit in a couple of weeks.

We have a couple of weeks now for all the injuries to recover for the trip down to West Ham United.

It is a good break to recover as many players as we can and get them out on that field and try and continue where we've left off.

Allardyce also believes that his team is a far more solid unit now, and seems confident in the players that he has at his disposal.

He explained:

I have got a very solid unit. Even though we conceded a goal, as a team we defended very well against some of the bigger boys in the Premier League, who we know have spent huge amounts of money.

We contained them very well and going forward and we showed a lot of quality on the ball at the right times to cause the Manchester United defence a lot of problems.

Skysports have complied a statistical analysis of all the teams in this season's Premier League and it has revealed that Sunderland are around the middle of the pack when it comes to which side is the fittest in the top flight.

The study - compiled using EA Sports Player Performance Data - says that Sunderland's players have covered 2858.8 kilometres this season, placing us twelfth, whilst we're ranked tenth when it comes to total amount of sprints (12,527).

Interestingly, we're tied third out of twenty teams when it comes to scoring 'late goals' with Tottenham Hotspur, whilst we are tied first for goals conceded beyond the eightieth minute, suggesting that Sunderland are perhaps at their best in the last ten minutes of games.

Elsewhere, Sunderland U21s missed out on going top of the Barclays U21s Premier League last night, after their closest rivals Manchester United scored a late goal against Reading to keep their place at the head of the division.

As reported on our site, Sunderland beat Middlesbrough 3-2 last night to keep within two points of the league leaders, with goals from Mikael Mandron (2) and Carl Lawson securing the win for Andy Welsh's side.

The win was a welcome one for Sunderland, and Welsh has suggested that his players have nothing to fear when it comes to competing for the league title.

He told SAFC.com:

We are still there and that win has kept us right in there.

We go to Liverpool next week and then we play Leicester at home so we have just got to stay in there.

There should be no fear from the Lads; they have competed very well since the start of August with Manchester United and Chelsea, so we have nothing to fear we have just got to keep going and keep winning.

It is good that we have won again and we have just got to keep that winning frame of mind and anything could happen.

The Daily Telegraph today claimed that Sunderland are one of thirteen clubs that have sent scouts to watch Gent forward Laurent Depoitre play against Wolfsburg in the Champions League tomorrow night.

Depoitre isn't particularly prolific but is clearly much-fancied by clubs in England, largely due to his physical presence and aerial ability.