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Has Moyes met Short? And 3 other questions the Sunderland boss must be asked today

It's pre-match press conference day - David Moyes is front of the cameras this morning as he fields questions from the media and previews tomorrow's trip to West Brom. But in the midst of the mid-season transfer window, and with pressure building at the Stadium of Light, here's our take on what the boss really needs to be asked today.

SAFC.com

So then David.....

Sunderland press conferences have become a little staid. An injury update, some words on the opposition, a couple of nice sentences about your opposite number in the dugout on Saturday, and a carefully controlled few minutes batting away some bland questions about transfer dealings.

Burnley v Sunderland - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay
Robbie Stockdale: "any ideas boss...boss.....BOSS?""
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

However, today's pre-lunch media-fest is set against a backdrop of rising pressure on David Moyes, his players and owner Ellis Short. Last Saturday gave a hint of unrest amongst the faithful, with some fans leaving the Stadium of Light in disgust and those who remained partaking in a few rounds of song directed at the club hierarchy.

Then at Turf Moor on Tuesday there were vociferous outbursts from the David Fishwick Stand in which the away supporters were housed - those who had travelled in numbers on a freezing cold January night - and they aimed their frustrations at the Sunderland players as they trudged off the pitch having rolled over and waved Burnley into the FA Cup Fourth Round.

And of course all that comes on top of a squad decimated by injury - the worst by far in the Premier League this season - and a side who now haven't won a game in a month, have lost four of their last six games and who are embarking on the second half of the season as relegation favourites stuck fast in the bottom three yet again.

So, scrap the script, here's what we want to know this morning.


1.Has David Moyes now met Ellis Short, and have they formulated a cunning plan?

Rumour has it that Sunderland owner Ellis Short has been in the North East this week and has held talks with manager David Moyes.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League
"See him there, he wants some money!"
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Nothing unusual in that of course. Except one would imagine these were 'crunch' talks, though not necessarily the sort that yet culminate in either a vote of confidence or a deadline by which results must improve - yet. No, these were surely crisis crunch talks - the sort of talks in which great minds come together to formulate a plan.

So have they got a plan? And is it a bloody good one? And have they discussed Moyes' future and how does he see it himself? Would he walk away if he thought it was for the good of the club, or if he doubted the owner can help him make good?


2. Has Moyes now got a transfer budget - be it big or small?

In the run-up to this transfer window we were repeatedly told there was no money and that supporters should be prepared to lower their expectations as to the business Sunderland could do in January.

Burnley v Sunderland - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay
"I'm a centre-half boss"
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

In fact, most of us reduced our aspirations to such depths, we strapped ourselves in and anticipated that any prize assets would be exchanged for hard cash, used to pay off a bit of debt and be replaced by a few Championship hopefuls.

So, Sunderland's 'bid' for Robbie Brady - lodged exactly a week ago - came as something of a shock, but a welcome one.

But it does indicate that there is some cash, and whilst the crafty Scot is unlikely to open up his war chest and parade the contents for the cameras, it might be nice to gain some reassurance that all hope is not lost this season and anticipate that two or three fresh faces may come through the door at the Academy of Light, hold a scarf aloft and give the squad a kick up the behind.


3. Are the wide boys up for sale?

Widely touted as out of here, Wahbi Khazri may well be back here once the African Cup of Nations group stage is over - in just over two weeks' time. Or will he? Most of us are expecting the Tunisian will be sold in a bid to raise some funds having spent most of this season as an unused substitute. But, with an absolute dearth of transfer rumours surrounding the 25-year-old attacking midfielder - not even an 'admirer' or two of any substance - it appears his only way out of here will come from a shock bid from nowhere. So is he for sale?

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League
Happier times in Wahbi Khazri's Sunderland career
Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

What about Fabio Borini too. Exit links have been ramped up a notch this week with the suggestion David Moyes will listen to offers for the Italian forward. Is this the case? And with two attacking players potentially up for sale, with what urgency is the Sunderland boss seeking replacements loaded with craft, guile, pace and cunning?


4. Team for Saturday: Has George Honeyman restored his faith in the Sunderland yoof, and were you wrong about them?

22-year-old George Honeyman made his full debut on Tuesday night and proceeded to be the only Sunderland player to emerge from the game with any credit. Moyes had spent the previous weeks bemoaning his exhausted squad options and appeared to make a blunt point about his views on those figures who are of an age to graduate from the Academy of Light. Robson and Robson, Embleton, Maja, Asoro, Ledger et al.

Burnley v Sunderland - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay
George Honeyman fends off two Burnley players, including Joey Barton, on his full debut in the FA Cup tie on Tuesday night
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

But with our current lack of midfield talent, and presumably with Jack Rodwell back in the treatment room, would Moyes give Honeyman his biggest break against the Pulis-fest that is to follow at the Hawthorns on Saturday and freshen the squad that way?

And while we're on the topic, can we keep him? George Honeyman has been subject to a few transfer rumours, going back several weeks now. If he impresses, let the lad stay.