It’s rare that a week goes by at Sunderland without plenty to talk about. The past week has, once again, been no exception. The past seven days saw a cup exit and a league victory which saw the Black Cats move up the table.
Investment talks continued with the story coming to a conclusion. This week’s edition of the Sunderland weekly roundup also looks at the latest ladies and academy news plus an injury update.
Sunderland Move Up Table and Investment Talks End
Cup Run Ends at Oxford United
The Black Cats travelled to inform Oxford United in the Carabao Cup with a place in the quarter-final at stake. Oxford were always a threat on the break and when Phil Parkinson’s men hit the post, United immediately scored the opening goal.
Sunderland had chances to equalise, with Max Power firing wide from close range. Midfielder George Dobson saw his cross deflected on to the woodwork as the visitors pressed. On 78 minutes, Marc McNulty finally got the equaliser, scoring from close range. The scores remained level meaning a penalty shootout was required.
The Black Cats have not had the best of fortune in penalty shootouts over the years, and their misery continued. Will Grigg and Marc McNulty both missed, seeing Oxford progress 4-2 on penalties. Failure to win meant Sunderland missed out on a home tie against Premier League champions Manchester City.
Investment Talk News
The FFP Sunderland Group, comprising of American businessmen Glenn Fuhrman, John Phelan and Robert Platek, plus Michael Dell in a passive role, have reached an agreement to invest a substantial amount of money into the club. It is believed that the initial investment will be eight-figures.
Executive Director Charlie Methven said that the deal would help take the club “to the next level.” It is believed that the investment will be used for recruitment, the academy and improvements to the Stadium of Light.
Talks between Stewart Donald and the American consortium have been ongoing for some time. Many rumours have surfaced suggesting that the deal was off then back on. However, in the end a deal was reached to give the club the investment it was looking for.
Sunderland Move Up Table After Southend United Defeated
Southend United, with their new manager Sol Campbell, were the visitors to the Stadium of Light on Saturday. It was a scrappy and, at times, unpleasant on the eye. However, the home side dominated for most of the game. A first-half Luke O’Nien diving header was enough to give Sunderland the three points. The win moved the club up to seventh, one place off the play-off places and eight points behind first place.
Phil Parkinson and his team have much to do if they are to achieve promotion. Games such as this may become the norm as they grind out positive results. Home form is not too much of an issue, it is away from home this season where the Black Cats are struggling.
Elliot Embleton, who picked up an injury in the Carabao Cup win at Sheffield United, is expected to be out for longer than first predicted. The attacking midfielder injured his hamstring and was expected to be out for two months. However, it has been confirmed that Embleton will now be out for significantly longer. No time scale has yet been given.
Goalkeeper Lee Burge, who injured his thigh at Shrewsbury Town, has missed the last two games. The injury is not thought to be serious and the shot-stopper should be back in contention soon.
Lynden Gooch twisted his ankle in the 5-0 victory against Tranmere Rovers. He has missed the three games since but is expected to be fit within a week or two.
Sunderland Ladies continued their impressive season, extending their unbeaten run against Stoke City. Two second-half strikes from Neve Herron secured the points for Melanie Reay’s team.
In more good news for the Sunderland Ladies, the Sunderland Echo have reported that the Football Association have asked them to begin an application to return to the elite of women’s football.
After significant rebranding, Sunderland were demoted two divisions after a failed bid to remain in the FA’s elite structure. However, it appears that the FA are now open to the ladies returning to the Championship, a division which they won in 2014.
Having lost 4-0 to Fulham in their previous game, Sunderland’s U23’s were hoping for a better result. Sadly, Reading visited Sunderland and won by the same scoreline.
The Black Cats U18 team progressed in the FA Youth Cup with a 3-1 win over Tranmere Rovers. The cup came as a welcome rest from their league campaign. The youngsters have yet to win this season. Their cup win could give them the confidence they desperately need.