Nothing we can do
Fleetwood Town’s on-loan Sheffield United striker Ched Evans has had a productive season in League One for Joey Barton’s side, scoring 15 goals and providing another four.
It was that form that saw Sunderland ponder a deadline day move for Evans before the record breaking move for Will Grigg was completed.
Barton wants to make Evans’ loan move permanent at the end of the season but admits that there is no way of competing with Sunderland should they reignite their interest in the striker during the summer:
It will be on the finances. I don’t have a magic wand.
One side in our division [Sunderland] has spent more on agents’ fees than our entire budget. If they decide they want him there is nothing we can do about it. They were sniffing around him in January.
He’s a great player, becoming a real leader in the dressing room. I’d love to have him but I say the same about Coyley, Soutts, Jason Holt – great characters, who really added to our group.
We are hoping they like it enough here that if they are not playing for their parent clubs in higher divisions they will be part of what we are trying to build at this football club.
Shinnie in Derby talks
Reported Sunderland target Graeme Shinnie had been hoping for a move to England at the end of the season and he has moved a step closer to that aim after opening talks with Derby County.
Shinnie is suspended for Aberdeen’s Scottish Cup Semi-Final on Sunday and that has allowed him to travel to Derby for talks with Frank Lampard’s side.
The versatile Scottish international is out of contract at the end of the season and had been linked with a free transfer move to the Stadium of Light.
Charlton still aiming for top two spot
Charlton Athletic may be down in fifth spot, four points behind Sunderland having played a game more but they are still hoping for automatic promotion.
The club’s captain Jason Pearce believes if the Addicks keep winning their games, it will place Sunderland under pressure and give his club the chance to clinch automatic promotion:
It’s going to be difficult for them.
If we keep winning and they keep looking behind and see that Charlton keep winning, they know they’ve got to win.
But we are four points off it, which at this point of the season is a decent gap but we’ll keep plugging away to close that gap.”
He’s said to us all along we can get top two, drilling it in to us.
We’re playing well and getting victories, but we need to keep our feet on floor, because if we take our foot off the gas the gas, we’ll get beaten by any team in this league.