Academy pair set for Norwegian Cup game
Michael Ledger - who left the club on a permanent basis last month - and Josh Robson are set to make their first starts together in defence for Notodden FK in their Norwegian Cup first round clash with lower league side Pors Grenland this evening (7pm GMT).
Robson has yet to make his first-team debut for his new side, though he did play last week for their reserves. Ledger, meanwhile, has made three starts.
Notodden have had a good start to the season and are unbeaten in their first three league games, currently sitting in third place in the 1. Division table, but tonight’s cup tie represents a good opportunity for Robson to get some much-needed minutes under his belt and impress his new manager ahead of receiving a more increased role in the first team.
Robson’s Sunderland contract expires this summer and he has been told he’s free to leave the club, but in taking a loan deal he’s allowing both himself and his new side some freedom in order to work out if a more long-term agreement might be worthwhile.
Camp doesn’t regret Sunderland move
Whilst deep down Chris Coleman might regret making the call to bring Lee Camp to Sunderland on deadline day in January, the same can’t be said for the player, who insists that despite struggling throughout his time at the club he’s happy to have came along for the ride.
The former Rotherham United goalie was signed last summer by Neil Warnock to be his number one at Cardiff, but due to injuries he lost his place and then played second fiddle to Philippines international Neil Etheridge.
After a mad scramble on the final day of the transfer window saw us miss out on a number of goalkeeping targets - most notably Leeds United veteran Andrew Lonergan - Coleman settled on Camp and a deal was signed without the player even making it up to the North East, such was the frantic nature of the day.
In an interview with the Northern Echo, Camp spoke candidly about his reasons for coming to the club and conceded that he’s not been good enough:
I needed to get out, play some games and end the chapter of my injury, and at the end of the day, this is Sunderland. I’m not stupid, I know some of my performances haven’t been great and I’ve had to ride that wave after not playing for a while.
I understand the criticism and that’s fine, that’s part and parcel of the job. But I’m pleased I’ve done it. It’s not every day you get an opportunity to play for a football club like Sunderland.
A year ago, I was coming to the end of the season out of contract and not in a great physical condition with my knee and I’m lucky I got a move to Cardiff, then the opportunity to play for Sunderland. I consider myself very fortunate, and I don’t regret coming here because it doesn’t come every day.
Some supporters have speculated that Camp has been carrying an injury since he arrived and attribute that to the fact he’s so weak down his left hand side, and perhaps his admission that he was out of sorts before arriving at the club go some way to explaining just what has gone wrong.
Bally tips pair for a bright future
Sunderland legend Kevin Ball is Mr Sunderland, and whenever you’re feeling down in the dumps about the club you can always rely upon the big man to pick you up with his inspirational words.
Some might say he’s a happy-clapper, and to an extent he is, but you can’t help but feel galvanised whenever he talks about the club. It’s clear how much he loves Sunderland and it exudes from him each and every time he talks.
In a sit down chat with the media this week the former Sunderland captain spoke proudly about Lynden Gooch and George Honeyman, two players that have grasped their opportunity to play in our first team with both hands this season and will undoubtedly be a part of the club next season as we rebuild in the third tier.
When I go to games now, I didn’t have the pleasure of coaching Joel or Josh but when I watch George and Lynden, it makes me very proud to have had a part in the fledgling stages of their career.
You always say, you can have all the ability in the world, but if you’re not prepared to put it in, it will be a waste of time here. Lynden deserves a lot of credit, coming in and settling from a different country. He gets it.
The former U23s boss is a big fan of Honeyman in particular and has gone on record on a number of occasions to talk about how much the youngster really wants to succeed at Sunderland, something he stressed again in his chat with the Evening Chronicle:
With George, you see that demeanour when he equalised against Sheffield Wednesday, how much it means. I kept rewinding and re-watching that because of what we’ve spoken about over the years.
He’s always wanted to play in our first team, that’s always been his focus.
And whilst some fans may not want to hear it, he’s tipping Honeyman as a potential Sunderland captain down the line - provided of course he continues to improve:
Hopefully he’ll get better and better at that and hopefully in time leadership roles will fall on his shoulders because he’s got a natural talent for it.
With John O’Shea and Lee Cattermole potentially leaving the club this summer it may be that some fresh leadership in the dressing room is needed. Chris Coleman has spoken before of his admiration for Honeyman and his attitude, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he’s handed a more pivotal role within the squad at some point down the line.