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Moyes final chance; Defoe absence at Leicester would sum up a season & 2 other talking points

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In this morning's talking points: all eyes will be on a beleaguered David Moyes tonight as his side take on Leicester in the final chance to launch a miracle survival bid; but Jermain Defoe is a doubt after taking a knock on Saturday - his absence would sum up Sunderland's season; a Black Cats youngster made his league debut yesterday and we ponder the future of Jason Denayer.

Watford v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Moyes praying for a miracle but if it doesn't start tonight...

....it never will.

David Moyes says Sunderland will have to win at Leicester tonight to have any chance of staying in the Premier League.

Sunderland v Leicester City - Premier League
Sunderland have beaten Leicester this season at the Stadium of Light during Claudio Ranieri's reign
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The Sunderland boss who shifts his estimation of when his side's latest miracle will need to start week by week - as results continue to disappoint - says he has identified a minimum of three points as essential from the away trips to Watford and Leicester,

I said that I thought we had to win one of these two games and I still think that if we are to stay in the pack given the games we have coming up.

Obviously we have Manchester United at the weekend which will be tough, but after that we have games which offer a real opportunity to win.

With a zero return forthcoming from Vicarage Road, Sunderland's last chance of launching an unlikely survival run will come tonight at the King Power Stadium.

Moyes himself is under enormous pressure after yesterday's damaging headlines and tonight's fixture may be the final indication of whether his players are prepared to stand up and play for him.


Defoe absence would sum up Sunderland season

The misery at the Stadium of Light may yet get worse. David Moyes revealed he would assess Jermain Defoe's chances of a start at Leicester tonight after training yesterday.

Watford v Sunderland - Premier League
Jermain Defoe in pain after colliding with Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure on Saturday
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

The England striker suffered a knock at Watford at the weekend and according to Moyes was still feeling the effects during Monday's limbering up at the Academy of Light.

And as if the Sunderland boss hasn't enough on his plate right now, the loss of his star striker and best chance of halting an alarming goal-less sequence which has now extended to five Premier League games, would be the latest piece of ill-fortune to sum up this dismal season

But then again it would be absurdly apt if Moyes has to fashion a make-shift strikeforce at the King Power should that dreaded day finally dawns - which the entire world knows will come at some point - when Defoe is unavailable.

Particularly against a Leicester side who will likely have Leonardo Ulloa on the bench tonight - the striker who Sunderland supposedly tried to sign in each of the last two transfer windows.

Leicester City v Sunderland - Premier League
Jermain Defoe scored at the King Power Stadium in August 2015
Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Sunderland's failure to add a striker to aid Defoe or stand in for him should he succumb to injury has long felt like a crazy game of Russian roulette.

And for those who point to the limitations supposedly imposed on David Moyes in the transfer market this season - having 'only' been allowed to spend £35m since his arrival last summer - the fact that he had up to £10m left in the kitty to lash out on deadline day, earmarked for Ulloa should not be forgotten.

In the end, Leicester opted not to sell a striker to what was then a relegation rival and with no plan 'b', Moyes and Sunderland abandoned their quest to hire additional firepower. Hindsight may return to bite tonight should Defoe be missing.


Ledger makes league debut in Norway

Sunderland's 19-year-old defender Michael Ledger made his debut in the Norwegian Eliteserien yesterday.

The centre-half is on loan at Viking Stavanger but his new club lost their opening game of the season away at Vålerenga - the Oslo-based outfit managed by former Celtic boss Ronny Deila.

Ledger got 90 minutes of league football under his belt and though his side created chances, they laboured in possession and gave the ball away cheaply.


Denayer's future unclear

It's been a curious 12 months for Jason Denayer. Last summer he had completed a successful season in Turkey where he was adored by Galatasaray fans. Then the Manchester City man made his debut in a major international tournament as Belgium faced Wales in the quarter final of Euro 2016 and it all started to go slightly wrong from thereon in.

Wales v Belgium - Quarter Final: UEFA Euro 2016
Jason Denayer at Euro 2016
Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Denayer was chastened on his display in France and hasn't featured for his country since. Following his summer exploits, instead of a triumphant return to Istanbul Pep Guardiola decreed that the 22-year-old's development would be better served by a season in the English Premier League.

So he joined Sunderland. And the promising centre-half has been utilised as some sort of energetic spoiling-holding position ahead of the defence for much of the campaign. Denayer has played a few times at full-back but then roughly half of the rest of his games as a defensive midfielder and the other half as a centre-back.

It's unlikely the 22-year-old has done enough to prove himself to Guardiola and reports this week have suggested he will be one of the Manchester City men up for sale in the summer.

Earlier in the season it was claimed Denayer would be open to staying with Sunderland. But with a fee required of £10m to sign him permanently and the player himself likely to have better options than Championship football, that seems improbable.