TRANSFERS/GRIGG/SCOWEN & PHILLIPS ON WATMORE



With the transfer window now open, Sunderland have been linked with Forest Green Rovers captain Carl Winchester and Ched Evans, who has been released by Fleetwood following discipline and behaviour issues. Speaking about the transfer window in general, Lee Johnson said: "We need to try and get better, that’s something we’re trying to do. Obviously, we’re in a position with the ownership, as you will have seen in public, at the moment where it’s not total clarity what we can and can’t do. I think it’s about presenting the right option and we’re on it, I can assure everybody of that. We’ve got very healthy lists and information to go with those lists, and I’m very conscious when bringing any player in that the group sits well with it. Sometimes it’ll be an unfashionable signing, sometimes it’ll be a fashionable signing – and I guess people just have to trust over a period of time that we make the right decision for the long-term future of the club in terms of getting better instantly and over a period of time.”


Elsewhere, Will Grigg could be out for some time with the knee issue that has been plaguing him since before we signed him! Would be interesting to see the results of medical they did during that farcical transfer. “He’s got a long-standing swelling of the knee,” said Lee Johnson. “I don’t think he’s been moving as well as he could have, or at least as well as I’ve seen him moving before. He’s going to see a specialist on Monday, and we’ll find out whether it’s three weeks, three months or nine months. I don’t think there’ll be any in between. It’ll either be rest for three weeks then have another go, rest for three months but still keep it non-surgical or we go down the surgical route. They’ll have to drill a hole effectively in the kneecap so it bleeds from in to out, to then form a calcification on the outside of the knee. Hopefully, it’ll be okay, but we’ve just got to touch wood and cross our fingers on it.”


In other news, Josh Scowen has been assessing the bore draw against Northampton, which masqueraded as a football match. He said: "I'm a little bit disappointed to be honest. Defensively I thought we were solid and they didn't create much but at the other end I don't think we created much either. I think that's where we need to be better going into the games coming up. [On not having a game for a few weeks] I don't want to make any excuses. We know we're better in front of goal than that - like we showed against Lincoln. We're disappointed because we didn't create enough chances to win the game. They were solid and they played a very direct game but I think we dealt with them very well. It's just at the other end for us that let us down. It's a chance for the gaffer to get his ideas across and for him to get us playing a bit more. I think it'll be a chance to learn the way the gaffer wants us to play. As long as we keep clean sheets we'll probably win more games than we lose. It's something to build on but like I said today it's the other end that we need to build on and score more goals. If we can get a run going starting not next week, but the week after, we'll start flying up the table. I've been happy [with his own performances], today it could have been better and I think there's still more from me."


Finally, Kevin Phillips has been chatting about the form of Duncan Watmore, who was released by Sunderland over the summer. However, since joining Boro Watmore has scored five goals in eight games! Phillips said: “I am sure there will be real mixed emotions from Sunderland fans, there is for myself. He struggled so badly with injury, he could not get that form back but sometimes a player just needs different scenery. The fresh challenge seems to have done him the world of good. He has been given a new lease of life at Middlesbrough. We all knew he had talent and quality and now he is coupling that with goals. To be linked with Premier League sides and Championship sides, naturally, the board will be pulling their hair out. They knew he had the potential but they could not get it out of him. Full credit to the player for leaving and responding to the fresh challenge. A real shame but fair play to Watmore. He has shown real character because it is tough to come back from those injuries.”