M’Vila signs on
Former Sunderland favourite Yann M’Vila has signed a contract extension with Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne.
M’vila has signed a deal that will keep him at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, which will disappoint the likes of Crystal Palace and Fulham who had been hoping to bring him back to the Premier League.
The 28-year-old will spend the next four years as a team-mate of Wahbi Khazri after the Tunisian joined M’Vila at Saint-Etienne.
Wickham returns to action
Connor Wickham returned to the Crystal Palace first team for the first time since November 2016 as Palace beat Reading 4-0 in a pre-season friendly.
The former Sunderland striker picked up a serious knee injury during a 5-4 defeat by Swansea 20 months ago but came on as late second half substitute against the Championship side.
After the game, Wickham said he got emotional when the Palace fans gave him a good reception on his return from injury and is now hoping to prove that he can get back to his best:
It was nice, I nearly got a bit emotional; it has been a long time coming.
In some respects, it has been the hardest period of my life, especially my career, but it is something I can learn from.
I have missed being out there so much, you just don’t realise how much until you get the chance to get back out there.
I felt good, sharp and strong, so hopefully I can just stay injury free for the remainder of pre-season and go into the season fully fit.
I think I have been wrapped up in cotton wool a bit and I have had my fair share of fallouts about it.
But that’s all in vain now, and I can look back on it and say I have been through probably the hardest time of my career and thankfully I am now back out on the pitch, which is good for me and hopefully for the rest of the boys as well.
I need to get more minutes and games under my belt and show the manager what I am capable of.
I have spoken to him a few times, but don’t think I need to be going and demanding to be playing every week, I have been out for a long period and I just need to prove what I can do, and how I can get on is only down to me.
Gibson’s future up in the air
Darron Gibson has been training with Championship outfit Wigan Athletic for most of the summer as he looks to earn a contract following his controversial departure from Sunderland last season.
The midfielder has featured during the Latics’ pre-season games but after their latest game - a 3-0 defeat by Rangers - Paul Cook refused to be drawn on the Irish international’s future:
I don’t really want to individualise players.
We could be here all night if we start speaking individually about all 20 of my players.
Darron, like everyone else, played well in the first half, and in the second half, there was a lot we can improve on.
Gibson will have to sign a contract before the weekend if he’s to feature in Wigan’s Championship opener against Sheffield Wednesday.