Wahbi Khazri - Suffering with an ankle injury
Sunderland midfielder, Wahbi Khazri, has revealed he has been suffering with an ankle injury for some time which has hampered his performances. The Tunisian has made headlines for his displays at the Cup of Nations with one African french-speaking newspaper calling him l'homme-orchestre (the one-man-band).
Wahbi #Khazri au micro d'@olivierschwob, c'est ici https://t.co/5TNeWIi7Ui #Tunisie #TUN #CAN2017 #FCGB pic.twitter.com/hosXDukYqx— Foot-Express.com (@FootExpress1) January 24, 2017
But in the wake of his nation's victory over Zimbabwe on Monday night, the 25-year-old revealed he is still suffering from an injury which has hindered his performances, picked up before the tournament started:
It is my ankle which often bothers me. I cannot manage to be two hundred percent, but it does not prevent me from playing.
Khazri is hardly the only Sunderland player to be suffering a strain or a pull right now. David Moyes' treatment room is overflowing back in England with Victor Anichebe and Lamine Kone - who returns from Africa any day - the latest to join long-term absentees Lee Cattermole, Jan Kirchhoff, Jordan Pickford, Paddy McNair, Lynden Gooch and Duncan Watmore in the waiting room for recuperation. On top of that, there is the 'doubtful' trio of Jason Denayer, Javier Manquillo and Steven Pienaar.
Robbie Keane - Would He Find Another Offer More Appealing?
Veteran striker Robbie Keane is on the verge of a return to English football. The 36-year-old former Republic of Ireland international left MLS side LA Galaxy at the end of November and has declared himself ready to return to action in this country.
David Moyes is said to be keen on offering the striker a short-term deal before the transfer window shuts. But, with a host of suitors, would Sunderland's offer fail to satisfy Keane's wider ambitions in the game?
Keane's appeal to Moyes is obvious as the Sunderland boss attempts to lure a few more freebies to his struggling side amidst injury chaos and the minor hindrance of having no money to spend in the January window.
Moyes' striking options now, more than ever, rest entirely on the shoulders of Jermain Defoe. The only senior centre-forward back-up option left in the squad is Fabio Borini, but the Italian was utterly abject in his most recent opportunity to stake a claim for a goalscoring berth. His ineffectual display in the FA Cup exit at the hands of Burnley a week ago won the former Liverpool man few admirers.
So the appeal of Robbie Keane is clear as a body who could lead the line. But also the player who has over 400 Premier League appearances on his CV would bring a wealth of experience to a Sunderland squad filled with players who David Moyes has admitted are 'frightened' as the prospect of relegation looms large.
But would a last fling in the Premier League, and the prospect of linking back up with Jermain Defoe - whom Keane has enjoyed previous successful stints with - satisfy the man who has bigger ambitions than merely a swan-song in English football?
Because, Keane has already taken his coaching badges and has previously declared his desire to get into management. After a hugely successful career in England, the former Spurs and Leeds man enjoyed a rewarding semi-retirement in America, aiding LA Galaxy to the MLS Championship three times.
The man who holds the crown as Ireland's all-time leading goalscorer gained his UEFA A and B coaching licenses last summer so would some of the other clubs keen on taking Keane offer him a better route in that direction?
It's thought David Moyes is due to meet up with Robbie Keane any day to discuss a potential move to the Stadium of Light; but with Robbie Stockdale and Paul Bracewell appearing to be firmly entrenched in the first team coaching positions at Sunderland, prospects for a quick progression into managerial experience may be limited here.
Preston North End are one of the other clubs said to be interesting Keane and they have a sizeable Irish contingent already in the likes of Aiden McGeady, Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle. And Keane has already been linked with coaching roles in England and as far afield as Spain and Australia.
Might Robbie Keane have a more enticing offer on the table than David Moyes' Sunderland? It would hardly be surprising.
Minor changes abound in the latest round of Premier League fixtures swapped around for the TV companies - Sunderland's home game against Manchester City on the 4th of March has been switched to 24-hours later for TV purposes. The game will now kick-off at 4pm on the Sunday.
But, the Tees-Wear derby, the first for four years, will likely remain on the Saturday of the following week - the 11th; that is unless Middlesbrough progress in the FA Cup, with sixth round games due to take place that weekend.
Papy Djilobodji may learn the date of his fate today
With Papy Djilobodji proclaiming his innocence over allegations he hit out at West Brom's Darren Fletcher last Saturday, the Sunderland defender may find out when his hearing will be held today.
Djilobodji faces a four-match ban if found guilty by an independent regulatory commission hearing - the date of which has yet to be announced, but it generally doesn't take the FA long to arrange these things.