With the international break out of the way, we return to regularly scheduled Premier League action, and the Sunderland news is coming thick and fast.
Eboue Banned From Football
The main news story today focuses on Emmanuel Eboue's one-year ban from football over payments to his agent, which we cover in detail elsewhere on this site. It's sufficient to say that the entire affair is a shambles that brings yet more negative attention onto our club.
Sam Allardyce has said that he believed Eboue could have had an impact at Sunderland, but has warned the defender that he could be irreparably damaged by the incident and may never play football again. However, Sam did leave hints that a reconciliation may be possible if the defender acts quickly to resolve the issue. We may not hear the end of this one for some time yet.
Lads Sell Out Away - Again
The Chronicle reports that the away end for our game at Carrow Road has sold out. This would be the fifteenth Premier League away game of the season (out of 17) for Sunderland to sell out, and is testament to the loyalty and devotion of Sunderland fans. Whatever the on- and off-field troubles might be involving our club (and there have been a lot this season), the passion and commitment of our fans is something that Sunderland can always be proud of. It's hard to think of another club in the country that would be able to pull this off, especially after 40 years of underachievement and frustration. Safe journey to the thousands travelling down to East Anglia, and let's hope they bring back three points.
Promising Youngster Injured
Ethan Robson is the latest addition to the Sunderland injury list, according to the club's official website. The young midfielder has impressed Sam Allardyce this season, training with the first team on a number of occasions, and has been a key part of the development squad which currently leads the division by four points. However, Robson picked up a groin injury that brings his season to an early end.
Speaking of his disappointment, Robson said:
"It’s a nightmare to be fair. It’s never a nice time to get an injury but I have got to be positive and look towards next season. I need to work hard with the medical team and hopefully I can push on when I get back."
However, he remains optimistic of pressing his claim for a place in the first team next season. If he is able to resume the form that he has shown with the reserves up to now, he has a very good chance of getting it.
U21 Game At SOL
Sunderland's final U21 Premier League game of the season, against Southampton, has been moved to the Stadium of Light. The game will kick off at 12pm on Sunday, 3 April, and entry is free to all SAFC season card holders, so get yourself down to cheer the lads on as they aim to win the U21 Premier League title.
U21 manager Andy Welsh told safc.com:
"It will be great to play our final home game at the Stadium of Light and to hopefully secure another win which would take the title race right down to the wire. The supporters have been fantastic for the lads this season and I hope as many of them as possible can make it down on Sunday to give us a real boost."
Entry will be £3 adults and £1 concessions, or free by showing your SAFC season card. Gates open at 11am on Sunday.