David Moyes insists five wins from eleven is possible
Sunderland boss David Moyes has maintained that a haul of ten wins is realistic and should be enough to keep his side in the Premier League.
With the Black Cats stuck on nineteen points, and having won just five matches all season, doubling that number of victories in the final eleven fixtures looks a daunting task. Even then, a points haul of thirty-four points would be unlikely to beat the drop, so Sunderland will need to pick up a few draws as well.
But with home games against Burnley, Bournemouth and Swansea still to come, along with 'winnable' trips to Middlesbrough, Watford, Leicester and Hull, Sunderland still have the fixtures to manage a further five victories with hope also resting on the prospect of a surprise or two along the way against trickier opponents.
Moyes told the Sunderland Echo:
Five wins is realistic and I think that is what is going to be needed for us to get out of it.
We've got games coming up that are winnable and present chances to win.
How's Michael Ledger getting on?
Michael Ledger, Sunderland's 19-year-old defender, is on loan at Viking Stavanger until the end of the season and has been in action this evening.
The centre-half endured a tough baptism to life in Norway as his side conceded four in a friendly last week against Odd FK. In truth, Ledger couldn't be blamed for any of the goals directly as his new defence conceded twice in quick succession - Odd's first two being scored inside the first twelve minutes.
And Viking have been in action again this evening with another friendly, this time against Bergen-based SK Brann. Ledger started this game too at the heart of the Stavanger defence and in drizzly conditions his side ran out 2-1 winners
The Norwegian Eliteserien season kicks off at the start of April.
Congerton will decide on Celtic offer next week
Former Sunderland Director of Football, Lee Congerton, is expected to make up his mind about taking the role of head of recruitment at Glasgow Celtic next week.
The 42-year-old ended his association with Sunderland at the back end of last year after seeing out his 12-month notice period on gardening leave.
Congerton has previously worked with Celtic manager, Brendan Rodgers, at Chelsea and the Scottish league leaders have been searching for a new scouting supremo since last October when John Park stepped down to head to America.
The Parkhead club have also considered Huddersfield Town's Stuart Webber who opted to stay with the Yorkshire side as they chase promotion to the Premier League and Ross Wilson who works under Les Reed at Southampton.
Congerton is also thought to have had a lucrative offer from China and has had Rodgers hanging on for an answer for the last month.
Jeremain Lens speaks ... again ... about the same thing
Despite attracting interest from Turkish rivals Besiktas and Galatasaray, Jeremain Lens has again reiterated his desire to stay with Dick Advocaat at Fenerbahçe.
Sunderland's Dutch winger, on loan in Istanbul, has also been speaking about his spiritual awakening in Turkey and how he himself will set about making the move a permanent one at the end of the season:
I have found myself here again and I will what I have to do to continue my football life at this club.
I am ready to meet with the Sunderland management personally at the end of the season.
The 29-year-old winger has been called up to the Netherlands squad for international matches this week, the second time he has been selected by Dutch coach Danny Blind since he escaped Wearside.
Lads XI play Gateshead
Sunderland's first team squad, without a game this weekend, played a behind-closed-doors game against Gateshead during the week.
The closely-fought match finished with Sunderland running out 3-2 winners against their Vanarama National League neighbours having fielded a strong side. Only Jermain Defoe, Sebastian Larsson and Jordan Pickford were missing from the team which took to the field against Manchester City last weekend.