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On This Day: 12 September 1990 – Sunderland boss rues injury misfortune as forward is ruled out

ON THIS DAY (1990): Denis Smith was cursing his luck as a key attacker was once again left sidelined. Can you remember who was missing from the opening months of our 90-91 First Division campaign?

On this day in 1990, Sunderland’s Welsh attacker Colin Pascoe was facing more time on the sidelines, after suffering a setback in his recovery from a knee injury that had plagued him for the majority of the year.

Pascoe, 25, who’d been signed by Denis Smith from Swansea for £80,000 towards the end of the 1987-88 Third Division championship-winning season, struggled with a cartilage problem which had hindered his ability to train. He’d made a surprise appearance at Wembley in the Play-Off Final, however it was painfully obvious that he was nowhere near fit enough to play.

And that injury had seen him miss out on the first few weeks of the First Division season.

Smith said:

The First Division would suit Colin and the players miss having him around.

He’s the sort of guy you want at training every day. He’s bubbly and his enthusiasm is infectious. He’s been desperately unfortunate. All he’s had is a basic cartilage problem but it didn’t show up for months.

Pascoe was capped 11 times by Wales.

While he was expected to be out for a month, it was two months later that he made his way back into the first team, starting and playing the full 90 at home to Coventry in November – a 0-0 draw that was significantly less dramatic than the 0-0 draw the previous February, despite Gary Bennett and David Speedie both being in their respective teams’ line-ups.

Pascoe kept his place in the team over the following weeks, and scored his first top flight goals in a thrilling 3-3 draw at White Hart Lane; Pascoe netting two and Gary Lineker snatching a last-minute equaliser for Spurs.

He played 25 league games that season, scoring 5 goals, including the winner in a relegation six-pointer against Luton at Kenilworth Road in a game that away fans were banned from, but plenty of Sunderland representatives found their way into the ground.

Pascoe was a skilful, creative player who with an extra yard of pace would have been top class, however he was prone to injury. After Smith departed the following year he fell out of favour, and rejoined former club Swansea on loan, making the move permanent in 1993.

Pascoe, of course, may be better remembered by younger supporters as Brendan Rogers’ assistant manager during his spell at Liverpool.

Liverpool Training Session
Pascoe had a spell in management at Liverpool
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

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