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Catts is back; Moyes believes fans still back him; 20-goal striker linked & Wahbi-gate continues

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In this evening's roundup: in a welcome boost Lee Cattermole has declared himself fit and ready to take up the fight; David Moyes has been all over the north east press claiming supporters still share in his vision for stability; a prolific striker is linked; fall-out over Wahbi Khazri continues & watch former Sunderland defender Sebastian Coates get skinned by Neymar and remind yourself why he was worse than Papy Djilobodji.

Sunderland v Burnley - Premier League Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Catts is back

Lee Cattermole has been talking to the local press this afternoon and declared himself as ready to make his eagerly-awaited return to the squad which travels to Watford for Saturday's crucial fixture in the relegation battle.

Norwich City v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

But his involvement may be limited this weekend with the 29-year-old suggesting he will be 'in and around the squad'.

With Sunderland needing another miracle to avoid the drop, the talismanic midfielder's return could not have come at a better time and despite his lack of match fitness, he told the Sunderland Echo he feels ready to take his place in the battle against relegation,

I had a brief chat with the manager. I told him I was mentally in a good place, feeling confident with where I'm at. I might have liked a couple of reserve games but I certainly don't feel like I need them, so I think it's a good time to be in and around the squad and I'm ready to play my part.


Moyes believes he still has the backing of supporters

David Moyes thinks Sunderland fans still back him and that they believe changing manager is 'not the right way' as the club continues its hurtle into the Championship.

Burnley v Sunderland - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay
Time for a change? Not at Sunderland
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

In quotes across the north east press, including the Sunderland Echo and the Evening Chronicle, the manager presiding over the Premier League's bottom club says fans remain behind him and his quest for a fabled stability that Wearside continues to be told it craves,

I think Sunderland supporters have been through it all before and they would turn around and tell you that changing manager is not the right way - the club has tried that.

The former Everton and Manchester United boss also believes his honest assessment of the club's limitations this season has helped ensure the Sunderland fan base remains broadly on-side,

It has helped I think. We have tried to be right up front, there has been no hiding anything,

My comments in the first couple of weeks of the season did not go down well, but I was being honest because I didn't think we had enough to get us away from where we were in terms of relegation battles.

It's not the first time this season that Moyes has assumed supporters share the clarity of his vision despite on-the-pitch performances suggesting there has been no improvement at the club during his eight months in charge.

Now with just ten games remaining and the prospect of defeat at Watford this weekend more or less meaning relegation for Sunderland, that support for his continued call for stability may be tested to the limit.

No club is ever relegated without some fall-out and angst and dissension. With the manager clearly going nowhere, the heat on Moyes may yet turn up a few notches between now and the end of May.


Striker linked

Anderlecht striker Lukasz Teodorczyk has been linked with Sunderland again by a report in Belgium.

RSC Anderlecht v 1. FSV Mainz 05 - UEFA Europa League
Teodorczyk celebrates scoring in a recent match for Anderlecht
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Admittedly the link is loose at best with Sunderland said to be one of a host of English clubs who have been monitoring the Belgian Pro League's top striker with Liverpool, West Brom, AC Milan and West Ham also credited with an interest.

Anderlecht have just announced that they have taken up the option to sign the Polish striker permanently from Dynamo Kiev in a deal which will last until 2020 so there might not be too much chance of this one coming off.

That said, you can read our recent scout report on the 25-year-old here and decide for yourself if he would be worth the £12m mooted as the fee required to land him.


Wahbi-gate rumbles on in Tunisia

The fall-out from Sunderland midfielder Wahbi Khazri's omission from the most recent Tunisia squad rumbles on in the North African country.

Everton v Sunderland - Premier League
Wahbi Khazri
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Khazri was dropped for Tunisia's two friendly games against Cameroon and Morocco after his display of indiscipline at the African Cup of Nations.

The 26-year-old refused to shake the hand of coach Henry Kasperczak after being substituted in the quarter-final of the competition and allegedly refused to travel with his teammates after the game.

The president of the Tunisian football federation, Wadii Jarii, later said on national TV that he had intervened personally to ensure Khazri was not called up.

Now according to local press reports in Africa, Kasperczak is set to be sacked as Tunisia coach after heated exchanges with Jarii over Khazri's ommission after his side lost both of the games they've played in the last week.


Coates left for dust by Neymar

You may have seen this article last week in Hitc Sport which claimed axeing Sebastian Coates and replacing him with Papy Djilobodji 'summed up Sunderland's season'.

And whilst the Senegalese centre-half who joined last summer has certainly had his moments in a red-and-white shirt, you would be hard pressed to find many Mackems longing for the return of the Uruguayan who signed permanently for Sporting Lisbon earlier this year in a deal worth £4m.

It would probably fair to say that Coates lacked the speed of thought to handle the English Premier League and his passing and decision-making were often found wanting.

And in case you had forgotten, why not remind yourself of the limitations of Sebastian Coates by watching him get skinned by Neymar during a World Cup Qualifier between Brazil and Uruguay last week (Coates is the fella falling over by the way).