Agent De Fanti on Borini and Mannone future
With both of Sunderland's Italian players now represented by former Director of Football Roberto De Fanti and with the Black Cats looking doomed to spend next season in the Championship, the agent of Fabio Borini and Vito Mannone is busy talking up his clients' options in the summer.
In an interview with Italian newspaper Tutto Sport, De Fanti concludes that both will leave the Stadium of Light in the summer:
We say that unfortunately the relegation of Sunderland is near and with it the most important players are destined to leave the club including Vito and Fabio.
They were most important for the club and helped also in historic days - semi finals and a final at Wembley and won numerous derbies with Newcastle.
However, with Borini linked to Celtic in recent days and Mannone with Watford, De Fanti hinted that both may continue their careers in this country:
Perhaps it is time for both to leave the club. It is said that they will leave England, but....
And there he left it hanging. One thing is certain, we can expect a renewed onslaught of transfer stories surrounding the pair in the coming weeks.
Big Vic thinks Pienaar holds the key
With Sebastian Larsson suspended for three games including tomorrow's fixture with West Ham following his red card last weekend, Sunderland have a vacancy in the middle of the park.
And Victor Anichebe is hoping Steven Pienaar is in line for a first appearance for the Black Cats since his second half showing in the four-goal drubbing by Southampton at the Stadium of Light in mid-February.
The powerful forward told the Northern Echo:
Lee Cattermole is coming back to full match fitness after his return and I would like to see Steven Pienaar coming back too.
When we were doing well that time he was the one who would give me the ball, we linked up well, instead of the ball coming from 25 yards down to me.
Anichebe and Pienaar were together at Everton under David Moyes for several years and are part of the swelling former Goodison contingent assembled at the Stadium of Light.
Aside from Anichebe's vote of confidence, it's difficult to build a case for Pienaar getting the nod ahead of others in the side with more left in their legs. Sadly, David Moyes is more likely to hand a starting spot to the South African than others who are desperate to make an impact like Lynden Gooch or Wahbi Khazri.
Noble in the crowd tomorrow
West Ham stalwart Mark Noble will travel with the rest of the visiting squad tomorrow despite being banned for two games.
The veteran of over 400 matches for the Hammers has said his side need just one more win to make Premier League safety certain and that he will be in the crowd to offer his teammates support:
I'll be going up with them for sure. I wouldn't be able to relax otherwise. My Saturday would be the worst Saturday in history if I didn't go.
I need to be there so I'm sure the manager will be happy with me travelling up with the lads and supporting them, because obviously we're in this together.
And the West Ham captain expects to head northwards with a sizeable contingent of Hammers for Saturday's 3pm kick-off:
We'll take a lot of fans to what is another important game for us and I believe we can go there on Saturday and get a result.
Approaching 30 next month, Noble has been occasionally linked with a move to Sunderland in his decade at the top.
His was a natural name to associate with Allardyce during Big Sam's brief tenure at the Stadium of Light and the midfielder would be a cracking addition in the Championship as the new money washing around the London Stadium continues to seek his long-term replacement.