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Roundup: Sunderland goalie earns first nod; Ndong to face Sess; Papy’s stress-free life & more

A roundup of some odds and sods you may have missed as the international break throws up a plethora of ‘slow news days’.

Sunderland to be roared on by a few at Doncaster tonight

Sunderland travel to South Yorkshire tonight as the Under-23s continue in the Checkatrade Trophy. Doncaster are the hosts, with a sparse crowd expected at the Keepmoat - only a handful of Mackems have so far bought tickets for the tie, though cash turnstiles are in operation.

Sunderland featured Jack Rodwell, Adam Matthews, Donald Love and Lynden Gooch when they lost at Scunthorpe in their Group H opener.

Doncaster Rovers v Middlesbrough - Pre-Season Friendly
The Keepmoat
Photo by Daniel Smith/Getty Images

Gooch spent a month at Doncaster in 2016 but neither he nor Matthews will feature tonight - with the pair now regulars in the first team. Donald Love is likely to turn out but the whereabouts of Jack Rodwell appears to remain unknown.

The former England international hasn’t been since in action for a while and no injury updates have been forthcoming from Sunderland boss Simon Grayson.


Young goalie earns call up

Sunderland youngster Michael Woud has earned his first call up to the New Zealand senior squad. The 18-year-old goalkeeper recently graduated from the Black Cats under-18 side to make the step up to Premier League 2, with his first start coming against West Ham at Eppleton a week ago.

Woud joins Sunderland defender Sam Brotherton in the All Whites squad to face Japan in a friendly this weekend.


Ndong vs Sess

Announced just yesterday, Gabon will take on Benin a week today in a friendly fixture which pits Sunderland’s current record signing against a former terrace favourite.

Didier Ndong will line up against Stéphane Sessègnon on October 10th in a game to be played in the southern French town of Malemort.

Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - Premier League
Stéphane Sessègnon playing for Sunderland in 2013
Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Ndong joins up with his Gabonese teammates today ahead of Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Morocco after missing his country’s last two fixtures. Borussia Dortmund superstar Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will return to the side along with the Sunderland midfielder after recent rows amongst the squad.

Sessègnon played over 80 games for Sunderland in a two-and-a-half year spell, scoring 17 goals. Now aged 33, the midfielder who now turns out for Montpellier after leaving West Brom in 2016, was linked with a return to England in the summer, with Brighton one of those said to be interested in signing him.


Papy loves yoga

He could yet return to Wearside after his current loan spell with Dijon ends next summer, but Papy Djilobodji has revealed how he dealt with the stress of stinking out English football last season and being considered as one of the worst Sunderland signings of the Premier League era.

Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League 2
Djilobodji on his arse playing for the U23s
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Djilobodji has been telling French newspaper L’Equippe that he’s seeking a yoga tutor in his new home of Burgundy so he continue the ancient art:

I am looking for a teacher in Dijon to continue. There is too much pressure, stress and problems in life. Yoga helps to relax under all circumstances - mentally and physically.

The Sunderland man who departed for Ligue 1 on deadline day will face his Black Cats teammate Wahbi Khazri later this month. Dijon host Stade Rennais on 25th October in the second round of the Coupe de la Ligue.


Four nominees from Sunderland in ‘worst Premier League striker’ countdown

There’ll be more to follow but Sunderland have their first entries in the Daily Mail’s chart of the ‘worst strikers in Premier League history’ - John Stead, Kevin Kyle, Milton Nunez and Lilian Laslandes.

Sunderland v Everton
John Stead playing for Sunderland in 2005
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

The Mail’s first installment counts down from No 100 to 81 and pits Stead at No. 91. Kyle at No. 86, Nunez at No. 82 and Laslandes at No. 81.

The foursome scored a combined 15 goals in all competitions in a Sunderland shirt, each with their own unique credentials for making the crap rundown. One thing is sure, there’ll be a few more Black Cats yet as the Mail continues the series in the coming days.