Borini Looking for Psychological Blow
Much of the build-up this week has already focused on Fabio Borini, and the Italian is again in the news today. With Swansea and Bournemouth pulling clear, it’s widely agreed those joining Aston Villa in the Championship next will be two of Sunderland, Newcastle or Norwich, which makes Sunday’s derby all the more vital.
Yet rather than dealing a fatal blow to the others survival hopes, Fabio Borini knows there’s a lot of football still to play before the fates of the two clubs are confirmed.
“I don’t think it will have an impact on the league table. If we win it [the gap] is four points, if they win it’s two, but four points is not a lot”The result will be all the more important with an international break the weekend after, leaving Sunderland with another free weekend. And it’s that psychological impact which could be the lasting blow.
“Probably psychologically it’s a bit more important because there is then the international break so you can’t recover the points you lost and you have more time to think about it. But it could also be helpful for Newcastle because the manager will have time to work with the players”With Norwich up next for Newcastle, it’s crucial their crippling confidence is not boosted on Sunday.
Pickford Keeps England Place
Jordan Pickford has once again been called up to Gareth Southgate’s England under-21s. With an international break around the corner after Sunday’s derby, Pickford will link up with the England under-21 squad as they head to Switzerland for the European Championship qualifiers.
The young goalkeeper has made five under-21 appearances already this season, and looks set to continue as number one.
Duncan Watmore, having also broken into Southgate’s side this year, earning rave reviews in the process, misses out through injury, while in the senior squad, local lad Jordan Henderson is joined by former Sunderland loanees Danny Rose and Danny Welbeck.
The news comes after Rees Greenwood was called into the England under-20 side yesterday.
Fletcher Eyes Premier League Return
The surprise move of the January window looks set to be short-lived, with Steven Fletcher already talking of a return to English football, although not with Sunderland. Having failed to set Ligue 1 alight since his arrival at Marseille, Fletcher has one eye on the summer, when his Sunderland contract finally comes to an end.
“I just want to play as much as I can and catch people's eyes. Of course, I'm not writing the Premier League off. If I can put in a good few performances, hopefully I'll have a few options”.While always unlikely anyway, a potential return to Sunderland appears dead in the water once and for all.