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ROKER ROUNDUP: Former Sunderland midfielder takes his first job in management after retirement

Plymouth player blames Sunderland for their midweek Checkatrade drubbing; Port Vale have one eye on Mackems FA Cup visit; and Teemu Tainio has taken his first job in management.

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Plymouth midfielder blames Sunderland for defeat

Plymouth Argyle had a shock hammering at home to Chelsea under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy this week, as the young Londoners ran out 5-0 winners.

The Pilgrims midfielder Jamie Ness admitted that although the competition is not high on the priority list for Argyle, the fact his club plays Sunderland at the weekend was a distraction to many of his team-mates:

It’s difficult, I will not lie.

For Chelsea it’s their biggest competition. For us, it’s probably the bottom of the pecking order.

They were very good on the night. We can’t take that away from them.

I think maybe one or two of us had an eye on Saturday. That shouldn’t be the case but people are only human.

We are glad that one is out the way now and we are focusing on Saturday, which will be a massive game and hopefully a sell-out as well.

Northampton Town v Plymouth Argyle - Sky Bet League One Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

Port Vale already have one eye on Sunderland

Sunderland may not play their FA Cup First Round tie against Port Vale until a week on Sunday but Neil Aspin’s men already have one eye on the fixture.

Speaking ahead of their League Two clash against Notts County this weekend, Aspin confirmed that star loanee Mitch Clark has been given permission to play in the cup game by his parent club Aston Villa:

If selected.

We’re very pleased, I’m very pleased, with the way he’s played since he’s come to the club. He’s adapted really well. He’s certainly stepped up to the level and he’s versatile. He can play in a few positions.

He’s been a vital signing for us. We obviously had a couple of other choices coming up to deadline day and in another couple of positions as well but I felt we needed cover in the full-back areas and he’s done really well for us.

Like all young players his job is to keep on top of his game, to keep learning, keep progressing, to get better. If he does that then he’s certainly going to have a bright future.

Aspin also spoke out injured duo Cristian Montano and Manny Oyeleke’s hopes of playing in the Sunderland tie - a match everyone at Vale is looking forward to:

The key this week was to get them back training, to get them through Monday to Friday.

We were mindful of the fact we had a reserve game on Tuesday and I said to both players that for them to be considered for the Sunderland game they would have to get through that reserve game. That’s a realistic target.

If you ask me this time next we’ll know whether they can come into the squad for that game – but they’re not ready to come into the squad for this weekend.

They have both probably had a date in their own minds when they will be able to play again and I wouldn’t say the FA Cup tie is a determining factor – but you can imagine that everyone at the club is wanting to play in that game.

They will both be looking to get 90 minutes under their belt against Wigan to put themselves into contention for Sunderland.

Port Vale v Oxford United - The Emirates FA Cup First Round Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

First managerial job for former Sunderland midfielder

Teemu Tainio is set to take his first steps into management as the former Sunderland midfielder has signed a two-year deal with FC Haka.

Tainio will replace former Sunderland academy product Keith Armstrong as manager of the Finnish club who finished 5th in the Ykkönen (Second Division) when it’s season ended last week.

Haka currently only have eight players under contract for next season but Tainio can’t wait to get going:

I did not hesitate for a second when I was asked. After a few years as an assistant coach, it’s time for me to test how my own ideas and methods work.

We hope we can nail the squad as quickly as possible. The longer we have together the better we will be.

Portsmouth v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images