Pickford Back in Full Training
A big boost for Sunderland supporters today - goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is back in full training. That is according to the blurry shot on Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie's twitter account, at least:
Jordan Pickford in full training for Sunderland today. Another boost for David Moyes after the weekend win. pic.twitter.com/P3UnOR3q84— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) February 7, 2017
Pickford has missed six Premier League matches through an injury he picked up in a collision during the 3-1 defeat at Manchester United on Boxing Day. The young goalkeeper has been missing with knee ligament damage caused by crashing into centre-half, Papy Djilobodji.
Since then, Vito Mannone has resumed his number one duties and after a shaky return to the first team, the Italian goalkeeper has now kept two clean sheets in successive appearances.
One stop-out would ordinarily be considered an achievement at Sunderland this season, but two in a row is some feat for a side who had only managed two clean-sheets in twenty-two attempts before that.
Saturday's visit of Southampton will likely come too early for a first team return for Jordan Pickford, but the pressure will be on Mannone with the prospect of Sunderland's following fixture being two weeks after that - giving the young English 'keeper a great chance of a return to full fitness for the trip to Everton at the end of this month.
Palace stars to hold crunch meeting after Sunderland collapse
According to the Croydon Advertiser, Crystal Palace players will be meeting this week to sort out the mess left in the wake of Saturday's Sunderland romp. Sam Allardyce's men collapsed in a sorry first half as the Eagles defence was unable to cope with the Black Cats' midfield and attack.
Palace midfielder James McArthur, who the Advertiser had rated as "looked lost and struggled to get in the game in the first half" in their match report, said:
I think there will be a players' meeting this week. I am sure the players will have a word with each other. I think we need to, to be honest.
Meanwhile, as the fall-out continues after the 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Sunderland, Sam Allardyce has shelved plans to take his players to Dubai for a warm-weather training camp as the club is worried about how the Palace supporters - who were so vocal in their angst at their team on Saturday - will react to them jetting off.
Allardyce took his Sunderland players on a similar trip last season and the effects were largely positive The 2015/16 Black Cats spent a week in Dubai after the 2-1 victory over Manchester United at the Stadium of Light in February. On their return, Big Sam's men would only lose a further two games all season on their steady march to Premier League safety.
The Moyes Sack Race
Sunderland boss David Moyes has been one of the favourites in the 'next Premier League manager to be sacked' race all season. But Saturday's impressive result has seen the odds of the former Manchester United and Real Sociedad boss facing his third sacking in under three years widen considerably.
Moyes is now roughly 14/1 to be the next boss on the dole according to most bookmakers. Middlesbrough manager, Aitor Karanka and Leicester's Claudio Ranieri lead the way right now at about 3/1 each.
The Daily Mail have today suggested that Ranieri will be given a further three games to improve results at Leicester or face the boot from the club he led to the title last season which is now in a relegation dogfight.
Tierney the Ref
Paul Tierney will take charge of Saturday's game against Southampton. The Lancashire-based referee has officiated in six Premier League fixtures this season, brandishing an average of three yellow cards a game. He has yet to show a red this campaign in the top-tier.
The Wigan-supporting official has only officiated a Sunderland fixture once before - the February 2015 FA Cup Fourth Round victory at Fulham.
Djibril Cisse Retires
Former Sunderland striker, Djibril Cisse, has announced his retirement according to the Daily Mirror.
The Frenchman who spent a year at the Stadium of Light is now 35 and has announced he intends concentrating on his career as a DJ and fashion designer.
Cisse is best remembered on Wearside for his goal against Newcastle in 2008 - the game that ended 2-1 with Kieran Richardson lashing in a now-legendary goal from a free kick to win the game for Sunderland.