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Roundup: Injuries mount for Villa clash; Lens slated again & defender set for Sunderland trial

Sunderland will travel to Villa with several first team players out of action for Chris Coleman’s maiden game in charge.

Injuries mount ahead of Villa clash

Sunderland will travel to Aston Villa with doubts over several first team regulars as Chris Coleman looks set to shuffle the pack for his maiden outing as Black Cats boss.

Word from the new manager’s first pre-match press conference indicated Marc Wilson and Paddy McNair are out of contention whilst Jonny Williams may be out for a while with a shoulder injury. Didier Ndong missed out at the weekend on compassionate grounds after a bereavement but is now back at Sunderland.

Coleman overseeing training
Image: Sunderland AFC

Duncan Watmore was withdrawn minutes before half time on Saturday with no news yet as to how serious his latest problem is. Coleman indicated medical staff at the Stadium of Light are “concerned” but that scans later this week should confirm the extent of the 23-year-old’s injury. Watmore has played six Championship games since returning from a year out with cruciate ligament damage.

Those four join Lamine Kone and Billy Jones who will be missing for much of the rest of 2017. James Vaughan appears to be available once more - he made the bench on Saturday after missing the Tees-Wear derby, but Coleman has some selection headaches ahead of his first game.


Bruce wanted by Beckham

According to reports in The Sun at the weekend, David Beckham is after Steve Bruce to lead his new MLS franchise.

The national newspaper claimed that Becks and Bruce remain friends from their days at Manchester United and once the former midfielder’s Miami team are ready to enter the US league, he will approach the Villa boss to take charge.

Preston North End v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship
Steve Bruce
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

If Bruce fails to secure promotion with his Villa team, he may well be looking for an exit route and the US could provide just that.

Mrs Doubtfire is presently putting the finishing touches to his plans to face Chris Coleman who takes charge of Sunderland for the first time tomorrow night. Villa are up to fifth after beating QPR at the weekend.


Bognor starlet set for trial

Bognor midfielder Tommy Block is due for a trial at Sunderland this week. The 17-year-old who also plays in defence has made 12 appearances in the National League South this season.

Block was linked with a move to Sheffield United’s academy and League Two Stevenage in the summer and is said to have been watched by representatives of Sunderland as well as Bristol City in recent weeks.

The youngster - who was with Brighton’s youth-setup before spells with Havant & Waterlooville and Chichester City - has been identified by various non-league observers as “one to watch”.


Jerry Lens, crap again

Sunderland-owned Jeremain Lens may be struggling to find some form on the pitch for Besiktas, but the Dutchman has been crowned the Netherlands nattiest dresser in a magazine poll.

Awarded the title “most stylishly dressed Dutch player” by magazine Life After Football, Lens has been widely panned for his performances since he left Sunderland on loan again in the summer.

The 29-year-old featured in Besiktas goalless draw with Akhisarspor at the weekend but was taken off at half time to be replaced by Cenk Tosun, the forward recently linked with a January move to Newcastle.

Lens was tortured by fans on social media after the game and some outlets in Turkey reckon the Istanbul club have begun trying to find a way out of signing him permanently from Sunderland next summer.

Last week, Turkish outlet Sporx claimed Besiktas will begin paying Sunderland for the Dutch winger in January with six instalments to pay the £4m fee owed over a period of 2 years.


Is Mannone really any better than the two present ‘keepers?

Robbin Ruiter continues to attract headlines around Europe for his part in the goalkeeping horror show which unfolded at the Stadium of Light on Saturday. Worst of all, of course, is that Sunderland’s other senior stopper Jason Steele is equally as bad.

The dilemma in goal has the Sunderland Echo today claiming Chris Coleman will seek to bring Liverpool’s third choice goalie, Danny Ward, in on loan in January while plenty of Black Cats fans are suggesting that Mika Domingues may as well be given a go and that allowing Vito Mannone to leave for £2m in the summer was seriously short-sighted.

But is it the case that Mannone simply looks all the better when compared with the dire pair we currently have? Here he is looking his usual befuddled self on Saturday as Reading were beaten by Wolves.

Mannone makes his return to the Stadium of Light a week on Saturday with his new Royals teammates as Sunderland host Reading on December 2nd.