Swansea drop out of striker race
Sunderland have been regularly linked with Ayr United striker Lawrence Shankland since the beginning of the season, thanks to the 23-year-old’s prolific form.
Shankland has also been linked with Swansea City but according to journalist Alan Nixon, the Welsh club have pulled out of the race for a striker who has scored 28 goals this season after seeing a £200,000 offer rejected by Ayr.
SWANSEA. 200k offer for Shankland rejected by Ayr. Have now walked away from it.
The Scottish club’s manager Ian McCall recently claimed that it would take at least £500,000 for the club to consider selling the player:
Our chairman has gone on record saying we had received a bid of £200,000 that he immediately turned down.
The only way the chairman will change is if someone offers ridiculous money like £500,000 plus for him.
Ndong unveiled, Papy close
Didier Ndong has posted about his move to Ligue 1 side Guingamp on Instagram, revealing that he will wear the number 21 shirt for the league’s bottom placed side.
According to France Football, Ndong will be joined at Guingamp by Papy Djilobodi. As the central defender is set to sign a six-month contract at the Stade de Roudourou, with an option of another two years should the team avoid relegation at the end of the season.
Mavrias heads to Cyprus
Former Sunderland winger Charis Mavrias only left Scottish Premiership side Hibernian a few days ago in search of first team football and it did not take long for him to find a new club.
The 24-year-old has joined ex-Sunderland midfielder Jordi Gomez at Cypriot First Division outfit AC Omonia on a two-and-a-half year deal, where he’ll also be a team-mate of former England under-21 international Matt Derbyshire.
Omonia have been struggling this season but are in midtable almost solely thanks to Gomez’s efforts, with the Spanish midfielder scoring six of Omonia’s last nine goals.
Andrew Nelson scored another brace for Darlington on Saturday, making that two goals scored in three of the four games he has featured in for the Quakers since joining on loan. With the one game he failed to score in, he picked up two assists.
Darlington beat Ashton United 2-1 thanks to Nelson’s two goals. The first goal came when Nelson ran through on goal and clipped the ball over the onrushing Ashton goalkeeper but the second was a sensational effort, as he ran from the half-way line and banged the ball home from 25 yards out.
Darlington manager Tommy Wright is still keen to keep the player, saying:
We were lucky to get him and I’m still hopeful that we can keep him.
I want him to stay, he is loving it here. Every striker wants to score goals and that is what he is doing at the minute.
He got two assists away to Altrincham and scored two goals in each of the other three games, it’s a hell of a contribution, eight goals in four games is massive.
For his part, Nelson is unsure of his future while he waits to hear what Sunderland want to do for him but is keen to keep playing football:
I’m waiting to hear back from Sunderland to see what they say, until then I can’t really say much, I haven’t got a plan going forward until this 28-day period is up.
All I want to do is enjoy my football, score goals and do well. That could be anywhere, it could be in the Football League or in the Conference North, wherever as long as I’m playing football I’m happy.
The 21-year-old realises he has reached an age where he needs to play senior football, particularly in the last year of his Sunderland contract:
Pre-season was a good opportunity with the club being relegated to League One, spaces opened up and I’d had a good loan spell at Falkirk last season, so I was hoping that would work in my favour.
But football is football and it doesn’t always go the way you plan it. I got injured – I dislocated three toes and tore a ligament in my foot - and then had setback after setback. It was a fair tackle, but I went over on my toes. It was awful. It was the worst pain I’ve ever been in.
I’m on the last year of my contract, I need to see what they want to do with us. I’m 21 now and getting to the point where I need to start playing senior football.
After missing the previous game for Darlington, as he was given Christmas leave by Sunderland, Williams Kokolo was an unused sub.
Elliot Embleton started as usual for Grimsby Town, as their excellent form continued with a 2-1 win away to Exeter City. The Mariners took the lead thanks to Martyn Woolford after just 14 minutes and held on until half-time despite Exeter pressure but Alex Whitmore was sent off shortly after the break.
That led to even more pressure from the home side, which eventually paid off with 12 minutes remaining thanks to Sunderland linked striker Jayden Stockley but Grimsby won it when Mitch Rose scored a penalty with his first touch.
Luke Molyneux started for Gateshead as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Halifax Town at home.
A Jordan Preston strike meant the visitors led at the break, but a Scott Boden goal with half-an-hour to go brought the game back level - and despite Molyneux going close with a free kick and setting up a chance for Steve Rigg, the game ended all square.
Molyneux is still waiting for news on a contract extension with Sunderland but his family are clearly hoping for good news soon: