Team News: Neither may be fit, but there's a hint Catts & Big Vic will play a part against Watford


Sunderland need a lift. With one win in the last eleven and only ten games remaining, David Moyes is going to have to take a risk now or it will be too late.  


It's come to this, Sunderland fans are clinging onto the hope that two key players will waltz back into the side and take the rest of their teammates by the scruff of the neck to fashion a way of winning more games in the final quarter of the season than we have in the previous eight months. 

Lee Cattermole and Victor Anichebe are back - nearly. Catts has been out for most of the season - his last appearance was the home defeat to Crystal Palace in September. He's only played two games under David Moyes. Big Vic has been missing since January - he's only played just under half an hour this calendar year. 

But both represent hope; and with a manager who refuses to acknowledge there can be any semblance of expectation in this dismal season, they might be all we've got. 

Moyes has suggested neither are fit or ready to take to the field this afternoon. But with Cattermole declaring himself as ready to take up the fight and Anichebe having been training all week, both might be involved in some way today. 

Ordinarily in his situation - six months out - Catts in particular would have had a run out with the Under-23s last night to regain some match sharpness. Elliot Dickman's men were in action at Norwich and won by a goal to nil. So with neither the influential midfielder nor Anichebe involved yesterday it means both are either in the first team squad for Watford or have been left out altogether. Let's hope it's the former. 

Lynden Gooch, Donald Love and George Honeyman were with the Under-23s so neither will be involved in the squad today. 

Elsewhere, Moyes confirmed that Jermain Defoe returned from England unscathed and has trained this week. Sunderland will be hoping his lift from scoring on the international stage will reap rewards at Vicarage Road this afternoon. 

John O'Shea is likely to be declared fit to play after his encounter with Gareth Bale last Friday left him needing stitches in his shin. With Jason Denayer looking good at the back against Burnley and Papy Djilobodji likely banging on the door for a start, Moyes also confirmed that Lamine Kone is fit and ready to play. Will the Sunderland boss line up with three centre-backs today then?

Whether Moyes will go full on 'personality-transplant' and give Wahbi Khazri a shot remains to be seen. It seems unlikely but surely the Tunisian will be given more opportunity than his sub-10 minute cameos so far this season. With three games in the next week or so, the former Bordeaux man may have a big part to play at some point yet - at least he should. 

After his ridiculous 'Britishness' comments caused widespread hilarity, Moyes will surely bring Didier Ndong back for this one. The Gabonese record-signing remains Sunderland's best midfielder - a feat akin to being named best singer in the Spice Girls admittedly - but his energy will be needed against a powerful Watford side. 

Seb Larsson returns from international duty and Darron Gibson is likely to carry on in the middle of the park. That likely means no place for Fabio Borini and it's impossible to build a case as to why the Italian should continue in the starting eleven. 

Billy Jones has been a key man in the last few games with Moyes clearly directing Jordan Pickford to pick him out on the right flank as a pseudo-target man. It's just unfortunate that some great goal-scoring opportunities have fallen to the right-back but credit to him for getting himself in those positions. 

Predicted XI - Pickford, Jones, O'Shea, Kone, Denayer, Oviedo, Gibson, Ndong, Larsson, Januzaj, Defoe. 

 


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