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Youngster to get first team chance; March looks dismal for Moyes; & Mika - who the f*** is Mika?

In this morning's talking points: One Sunderland youngster is likely to get his first ever senior professional start today; March looks like being a write off for Sunderland's hopes of exiting the bottom three and why has forgotten goalkeeper Mika been an internet hit this week?

Manchester City v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Ledger set for first start in Norway

Sunderland defender Michael Ledger will get his first run out for Norwegian outfit Viking Stavanger this afternoon as he limbers up with his new team in preparation for the Scandinavian football season.

Sunderland v Everton: Premier League 2
Ledger during a Premier League 2 fixture against Everton at the Hetton Centre in January.
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

The 19-year-old joined the Eliteserien club on loan last week until the end of the current campaign.

Stavanger play fellow top-tier side Odds Ballklubb later today in a warm-up match for the Norwegian pro season which starts in April. Odds BK are commonly referred to as 'Odd' and are based in the port town of Skien.

The Skagerak Arena, home of Odd BK, where Sunderland's Michael Ledger will make his first senior professional appearance today

Odd finished last season in third place in the Eliteserien so the game is being billed as a decent test for Stavanger, who finished eighth.

The match will mark Ledger's senior debut in professional football having never made a first team appearance for Sunderland either in a competitive or a friendly fixture. Viking coach Ian Burchnell said of the youngster's chances:

Ideally I'd planned to drop him in a little more gradually and not thrown him in at Odd, but now it will be like that.

The fixture kicks off at 1pm UK time and whilst Wearside basks in a balmy forecast eight-degrees celcius, Ledger will turn out in minus-three conditions with snow forecast for this afternoon.


The March maths

March may have only just begun, but Sunderland will almost certainly conclude the month as they started it - at the bottom of the Premier League.

David Moyes will only see the light of seventeenth place if he can somehow engineer a minimum of four points from Sunderland's games in March and all of the other teams in the bottom four lose each of their fixtures this month.

Everton v Sunderland - Premier League
A quiet month for Moyes and Bracewell with just two games in March
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Sunderland only have this weekend's clash with Manchester City and a visit from Burnley to come this month after the Tees-Wear derby was rearranged due to Middlesbrough's continued involvement in the FA Cup.

That's a minimum of a win and a draw required from Sunday's game against Manchester City and the match against Burnley in two weeks' time, and hoping Hull City, Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough all get beaten for the rest of the month, in order to exit the bottom three in time for April.

Dismal.


Mika, who the f*** is Mika

Being a third choice goalkeeper probably isn't much fun, though the pay is probably still some consolation.

But Mika Domingues is beginning to look like being one of the most pointless signings of the season in the Premier League, especially in direct relation to the effort which was put into landing him.

We probably forget now that Mika was highly rated in Portugal and was a target for Leicester City last summer before Sunderland swooped for him.

Mika, who was disappointingly christened plain old 'Michael', was a post-deadline day signing in the summer as Sunderland successfully appealed to FIFA to recognise the transfer which had gone wrong somehow because of a technical fault with the governing body's IT system.

His lack of appearances - bar sixteen spots on the bench and some underwhelming showings for the Under-23s - have rendered Mika a largely forgotten man at the Stadium of Light. And he could be forgiven for ruing the fact that Jordan Pickford has returned to full fitness. The Portuguese goalie will now likely be banished to the stands for upcoming Premier League games barring an injury to the England goalkeeper or his new understudy Vito Mannone.

But, perhaps we do Michael a disservice. Perhaps people are genuinely interested in him. Footy site TeamTalk revealed earlier this week that Mika was the fourth most searched footballer last weekend on search engine Bing. Our Mickey beat Harry Kane into fifth spot and was only less popular than Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Wayne Rooney on the English version of the world's second most popular search site.

Not bad eh. But why? It can only be that his showings on the bench have people pondering why that popstar bloke is a substitute for Sunderland each and every week and the novelty of that has presumably still not worn off. And that's a pretty crap reason for a footballer to be 'famous'.