Four Sunderland players were in action last night as Max Stryjek, Luke Molyneux, Connor Shields and Lamine Kone all featured for their loan clubs.
Max Stryjek started for Eastleigh in their National League clash at home to Leyton Orient. The home side took the lead through Josh Hare just after the half-hour mark, but Orient equalised in the 65th minute thanks to Macauley Bonne as the game finished 1-1.
The home side edged the first half, but the second half was all Orient meaning Stryjek and his defence had to be at their best to ensure Eastleigh came away with a point, as the third placed visitors pushed for the win, to no avail.
Molyneux came on with 10 minutes remaining as the game between AFC Fylde and Gateshead was finely poised at 0-0, but the home side nicked it with what was almost the last kick of the game, thanks to the prolific Danny Rowe.
There was no luck for Shields either, as his Alloa Athletic side went down 3-0 at Ayr United with all three goals coming in the second half. Another prolific goalscorer - and a player who has been linked with a move to Sunderland - Lawrence Shankland scored twice for Ayr, taking his tally for the club to 50 goals in 50 games. Alan Forrest got the other goal for the home side.
Lamine Kone had better luck, as his Strasbourg side knocked out high-flying Ligue 1 outfit Lille 2-0 in the French League Cup. Kone started in the middle of a back three for Strasbourg as both sides made plenty of changes from their weekend line-ups, but it was Strasbourg who went through to the next round.
Plymouth hammered by Chelsea Youth
Sunderland visit Plymouth Argyle at the weekend and the Pilgrims preparations didn’t go as planned when Chelsea under-21s thrashed them 5-0 at Home Park.
The home side did make five changes from their 4-1 win at Scunthorpe United at the weekend, but they’ll be extremely disappointed that a side that included six players from their last League One fixture was on the receiving end of such a heavy scoreline against a very young Chelsea side.
Charlie Brown, a Yann Songo’o own goal, Martell Taylor-Crossdale, Tino Anjorin and Daishawn Redan scored Chelsea’s goals, but the scoreline actually flattered the hosts, with Plymouth downing tools early in the second half.
Premier League star discusses Sunderland trial
Wolverhampton Wanderers right-back Matt Doherty has been starring in the Premier League for his club this season as the newly promoted side lie 10th in the table.
The 26-year-old has been talking about his career with the Daily Mail and reveals he had a trial at Sunderland when he was younger, but was unable to win a contract after failing to perform. It was after a pre-season game against Mick McCarthy’s Wolves while he was at Bohemians that he finally secured a full time deal:
I went to a lot of clubs and didn’t perform — Middlesbrough, Celtic, Sunderland and Portsmouth.
I was the same age group as Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, John Egan, who’s at Sheffield United. We played against each other in school football. They moved at 16 then I went to Bohemians.
I didn’t play well, just 55, 60 minutes, but for some reason they decided to give me a trial, I came over for a week and after that they signed me. I was over the moon. £75,000. They’ve done all right!
Company at the Academy of Light
Newcastle Falcons play Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop this weekend in Rugby Union’s Premiership Rugby Cup, and during their preparations they trained at the Academy of Light.
A former Falcons player Greg Irvin is currently the mental skills coach at the academy and the rugby side’s academy manager Mark Laycock says Irvin helped set the Falcons up at the AoL in an attempt to keep things fresh for their side:
The idea is mainly just to have a change of scenery and expose the lads to something a bit different.
The boys all love football – they’re not that great at it, as we’ve seen this morning – but it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to come somewhere new.
One of our former players Greg Irvin is the mental skills coach at Sunderland’s academy, so he has been the initial link, and they kindly offered us the use of their facilities.
We’re happy to reciprocate that if Sunderland wish to do anything with us in the future, and their academy coaches also sat in on our video review meeting.
It’s good to have links with other professional sports, even if it’s just to have a bit of a glimpse at how they do things, and while the sports are obviously very different there will definitely be some areas where we can learn from one another.
This is typically our review day where we go back through the game from the previous weekend, it’s a moderately light training session whereby the guys are flushing out the cobwebs after Sunday’s match and we’re looking to fix a few things in terms of our game.
As well as being a first team training session ahead of an important game on Sunday we’ve also involved a few of our junior academy players in the day and exposed them to a higher level. It’s a long-term focus, and this is how you develop.
We’ll start to look ahead more to the Harlequins game from Wednesday onwards, and going over to Sunderland was really just aimed at keeping things fresh during what is a very attritional season.