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Roker Roundup: Sky Sports reporter reveals promising Sunderland transfer info - 5 in, 2 out?

In an interview with Roker Report, Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie revealed several bits of promising Sunderland transfer news as we head into the final stretch of the January transfer window.

Your daily reminder of Sunderland news!

Downie discuss transfers

Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie was kind enough to appear on the Roker Rapport podcast yesterday afternoon, which is available to listen to in full right now (full details below).

During the podcast he discussed a big week ahead for Stewart Donald and Jack Ross as they look to strength the Sunderland squad ahead of the transfer window closing at 11pm on Thursday night.

According to Downie, Sunderland could sign as many as five players before the deadline but only if two players should depart, otherwise the club will look to bring in three players. Grant Leadbitter is set to undergo a medical later today, the club are still extremely keen on Wigan Athletic striker Will Grigg and there are a number of different options up front as they look to sign a second striker target.

You can listen the full interview with Keith Downie right now on iTunes, Acast, Spotify and YouTube by clicking the links in the tweet below.


Samson discusses retirement decision

Sunderland goalkeeper coach Craig Samson surprisingly hung up his boots despite being St Mirren’s number one goalkeeper when Jack Ross called to offer him his current position at Sunderland.

The 34-year-old has been speaking with his MailSport about his retirement decision and he revealed that due to his age, he had to think about what would happen once his playing days was over and he felt that he could not turn the opportunity down:

Some people will have said, ‘What’s he doing?’

It’s not as if I had gone down the leagues. I was still playing every week in the Premiership.

But when I got the opportunity it was like a whirlwind.

I had a discussion with my wife. We’ve four children and football doesn’t last forever. We had to talk about our future.

I wasn’t fortunate enough to be in a position where, once I stopped playing, I could chuck it because I had millions in the bank.

It was always going to be a case of having to work, doing some sort of job. And my aspiration has always been to become a goalie coach.

It probably hit me and Jodie the night I was leaving. We looked at each other on the couch and thought, ‘This is actually happening.’

It wasn’t long since we’d discussed it – and now I was away. It happened so quickly. But it was in my mind that if I said no, I could get injured or dropped at St Mirren a week later.

I could have ended up regretting it for the rest of my life and that’s exactly why I made the decision I did.

Now, when I look back on my playing career, I loved it.

I had loads of good and bad times. I’ve had bags of abuse and a few cheers.

But when I reflect I think I did alright. I’m a wee boy from a village in Ayrshire called Darvel and I ended up playing in the Scottish Premiership, I won promotion, won a cup and got into the Scotland squad, so I can’t complain.

I remember the first time I played at Celtic Park, my dad said to me afterwards, ‘Enjoy it because no one from where we live has ever done that before.’

Maybe you don’t savour it enough at the time.

But when I look back I did alright. Some fans will probably disagree and think that I was c**p.

But to play the amount of games I did, at that level, I think I did OK.

Samson says he agreed to join Sunderland before even seeing the training ground but once he did he was blown away by the size of the club:

I’d been to Sunderland’s stadium before but never the training ground, yet I agreed to join without even seeing it.

On my first day there were a few familiar faces at lunch and right away I was getting the piss taken out of me.

That made it easier for me.

But when you go into the building and realise how many people work there, it’s like, ‘Jesus, this is huge.’ I knew they were a massive club but I’d be getting introduced to so many people – I’d be saying to folk, ‘I don’t know whether I’ve met you yet.’ The scale of it is incredible.

If it wasn’t for Jack, Fow and Pottsy, it would have been much harder.

But the place is unreal. I visited the stadium on my first day and they showed me around. It’s enormous. And this area is just a hotbed for football.

The academy set up for the kids is 
unbelievable and the facilities for the
players are second to none.

It’s a Premier League club that have had a few bad years.

It’s up to us as a staff to get them back up to the Championship.

He explained how his role was to get the best out of Sunderland’s three senior goalkeepers but reiterated how important it is to have a role to step into at the end of a professional’s playing career:

This is the start of a new career.

It’s not the same as playing as it’s totally different. As a player you don’t have to think about anything. You go in, train and play your game – and you can affect it.

As the goalie coach you’re trying to get the best out of a group of people.

I had an hour-long chat with the gaffer last week when we discussed how the role will actually help me generally in life.

Because I’m a team leader now I have to look after my group of goalies – Jon McLaughlin, Robin Ruiter and Max Stryjek – and get the best out of them.

That’s what my role is. If I do that it’ll help the manager and the other players.

It’s all new but I’m still involved in football and I love it. I’m on the training pitch every day, kicking the ball and still involved with the changing room banter.

When most players retire, that gets taken away. I can see why people struggle with things like depression when they retire. Because it’s that atmosphere that most boys miss when they stop playing.


Djilobodji being Djilobodji

Papy Djilobodji started for Guingamp at the weekend and Didier Ndong came on at the half-time interval as the Ligue 1 strugglers lost at home to Reims.

The 1-0 defeat was bad enough for the league’s bottom side but things were made worse by Djilobodji reminding the world of how much of a shambles he is.

Just on the hour mark, the former Sunderland defender attempted to tackle - or decapitate - Reims’ forward Pablo Chavarria and left the Argentine needing hospital treatment for a suspected broken nose and mouth injuries.