In terms of incoming players, Wigan boss Paul Cook reckons that we’ve made four bids for Will Grigg, but that he won’t let him go without a fight: “I think Sunderland have made four bids for Will, but the fact we’ve rebuffed four bids, you can clearly see our intent is not to sell players, unfortunately everybody is expecting them come back, but we want to strengthen and keep our better players.”
But Boro boss Tony Pulis is more positive in terms of letting his player come to Wearside and reckons that coming to Sunderland would be an ideal move for Grant Leadbitter: "I think they’re talking. Grant’s a wonderful professional, he’s been fantastic since I've been at the club. He’s a Sunderland lad, and it’d be a wonderful move for him. Grant has a lot of affection for Sunderland, as he does with this club. We'll do anything we can. But the finances are out of my hands, they’re between both parties."
We’ve drawn Bristol Rovers away in the semi-final of the Checkatrade Trophy. The match will be played on March 5. The date of the game means that Sunderland AFC’s re-arranged trip to Accrington Stanley, will now be re-scheduled. A new date for this game will be confirmed in due course. Ticket details for the semi-final will be announced shortly.
In other news, Bordeaux manager Eric Bedouet has told Josh Maja to get used to sitting on the bench when he arrives at Bordeaux. "It is a physically difficult championship, you have to be very strong in front and have the quality of a goalscorer. It’s a young player, knowing that a young player does not have that quality right now, it gets ready, it improves, it is fine. But it’s a young talent. We knew him a little bit, I think we do not have time to look too much, we are focused on the field, to prepare the team. But we have a sufficiently professional team, specialists who take care of that. We knew him a little. His profile? We need a scorer, that’s what we need. Apparently, this season he scores goals. After, the game in France is different, there are plenty of things difficult to manage like that."
Still with Maja and SAFC legend Kevin Phillips reckons that that Josh should have stayed at Sunderland. "I’m very surprised (that he is leaving and could be heading to Bordeaux). I think first and foremost he is a fantastic young player, very exciting, he is a goalscorer as he has proved this season. He has 16 goals for Sunderland and I would have to say without him Sunderland wouldn't be sitting third in the league. For them to be losing him is going to hurt Sunderland and I am very, very surprised because a lot of clubs have been linked with him in this country. If he was to stay at the club and (continue his goalscoring), one you become a Sunderland legend straight away and two, you'd get the move in the summer, I can only assume that someone is in his ear, whether it be his agent or family. We are talking about yet another young player, if it is about the money, going to chase the money at 20. He has been playing professional football for not even 18 months. Just continue what you are doing. That would be my advice. Continue playing for Sunderland, help them get promoted then your money is going to go up if you want to stay at Sunderland and if you want to then move at Sunderland. Just for his development, why would you want to go across to France where Bordeaux are eleventh in the table. He played in front of 47,000 people on Boxing Day. Will he play in front of that at Bordeaux? I am not sure he will. For him to move on now would diminish all that hard work he has done in the academy and up to this point so far. The supporters won't forgive him for that."
Meanwhile, Jack Ross does not regret letting Andrew Nelson move to Dundee: “I think for Andrew, he had the injury last season so when he came in pre-season he was a good bit behind in terms of where I think he needed to be in terms of his fitness levels. Although he was involved with us in pre-season he was still way off what we needed him to be at. He then picked up that horrible injury at Hartlepool, and that took a long time to sort out properly. We were then very much into the nuts and bolts of our season so he had to go out to get some game time [at Darlington]. Then you have to weigh it up. He’s 21 now, he needs to be playing football and progressing his career. The opportunity there for him was sensible to pursue. As a club, you could keep all of your young players because then you take out any risk of anything coming back to bite you. But that doesn’t help those young players and it is selfish of us to do that. If I felt he was at a stage where he could come in and really help us as a player, then I would have done that. That’s not to say I don’t think he’s a good player, I just think where we’re at, this was the best solution for all parties. I think he would agree with that, he’s young but not that young in terms of football. I know what his attitude is like and so I know that he’ll go up there to make the most of the opportunity at Dundee.”