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The Roker Roundup: Tuesday 8th March 2016

All today's important Sunderland-related news in one handy little place.

U21s Go Back Top With Win Over Everton

Two Ola Toivonen goals and a Tom Beadling tap in sent Sunderland back to the top of the Barclays U21s Premier League, going above Manchester United.

Although Manchester United don't play until Friday it was a great opportunity for Andy Welsh's men to put pressure on their league rivals and they did just that, going into a decent lead early doors.

Everton probably had the chances to win the game but the experience of Toivonen up front and the guile of Rees Greenwood on the wing ensured Sunderland took all three points.

Watch the video below for highlights from the game - our third was particularly good.

Pre-Derby Friendly For Sam's Men

With his side set for yet another break from Premier League action this weekend, Sam Allardyce is expected to arrange a behind closed doors friendly ahead of the derby in twelve days time.

Allardyce said:

We could play a friendly, although it depends who we can get.

I think if we can get a side that will put a reasonable team out then we could play one towards the end of next week behind closed doors.

It's absolutely baffling that we have to play about eighty games over Christmas then have all these breaks in March every year. The end of the season is going to be congested, largely because of the progress of other sides in the FA cup. It can be viewed as both a positive and a negative - it gives Sam time to get things right on the training pitch with his defenders, but considering Saturday's result you would probably think that Sam would rather his side were playing this weekend.

Eboue Injured But Expected To Sign

People tuning in to BT Sport last night to watch our second string against Everton were most likely expecting to see Ivorian full back Emmanuel Eboue in action, but unfortunately he missed out with an injury picked up in training last week.

Regardless, Eboue is still expected to sign a short term deal with the club, and with Adam Matthews now out of the door it has left a squad position open for the former Arsenal man to take.

Sam Rues Missed Opportunities

Big Sam would much rather be playing this weekend than having to miss out whilst other teams around us play, and has insisted that his side missed out on three points on Saturday through no fault of their own.

Sam explained to SAFC.com:

Unfortunately performances have not delivered the results they deserve and unfortunately it’s our own fault that we’ve thrown two very precious points away. It was another solid and very good performance, but that ultimate element of not being capable of keeping a clean sheet has cost us very dear again.

It is very frustrating for me to see the lads do all they have today and not come away with three points.

We would have been three points away from the bottom three and, with no game next week, teams could have won and still not been out of the relegation zone, with us still having a game in hand against Everton, so that’s the difference.

That's what should have happened, that’s what we should have done and we have made life extremely difficult for ourselves, so now we have to wait patiently for our game in two weeks against Newcastle United.

I would love to have had a game this weekend due to the way we’ve been performing recently.

I guess it's better to be frustrated that we aren't playing because we are playing well, than to be dreading games coming up because we are playing poorly.

One thing we do hold over Newcastle and Norwich is the fact we seem to have the quality, confidence and ability to grind points out here and there. Lets hope we are looking at the table on Saturday night happy that the others around us have tripped up again, because that game in hand could be vital.