Sunderland Weekly Round-Up: Black Cats Have Nothing to Fear in the Championship

Sunderland weekly round-up: Clarke at reading

The latest edition of the Sunderland weekly round-up reflects on another eventful week for the Black Cats. Two away games produced four well-earned points, some exceptional performances and goals. One of which is a goal of the season contender.

We look back at these games that once again prove that Sunderland have nothing to fear in the Championship this season. We also look at the youngsters making an impact and the latest first-team injury news as another striker is sidelined.

Sunderland Weekly Round-Up: Black Cats Have Nothing to Fear Following Impressive Start to the Season


Goal of the Season Contender in Win at Reading

Sunderland travelled to inform Reading on Wednesday night with the home side having a 100% record this season at their stadium. With eight minutes of the first half remaining, the Black Cats suffered what was believed to be a devastating blow. Their only fit striker Ellis Simms was forced off with an injury leaving Tony Mowbray with no option but to play without a recognised forward.

However, any fears fans had were soon forgotten. Two goals in two minutes from Patrick Roberts shortly after Simms left the field put Sunderland into a commanding lead at halftime. Reading had no response to their opponent’s counter-attacks, precise passing and finishing ability.

Roberts’s two goals were impressive and excellent pieces of team play and individual skill; however, Sunderland left the best until last. Starting with goalkeeper Anthony Patterson their third goal involved eight players each making precise passes, including subtle flicks and an accurate cross-field assist. Jack Clarke was the man to score the goal with an excellent finish just 18 seconds after the ball was with his goalkeeper.

Could This Be the Goal of the Season Winner?

Never Give Up Attitude on Display at Watford

Mowbray’s men faced another tough away trip on Saturday when they faced promotion hopefuls, Watford, at Vicarage Road. The Hornets had been a Premier League team just last season and are expected to mount a serious challenge to instantly return this season.

Sunderland, however, have started life back in the Championship better than expected and this week has once again proven that they have nothing to fear.

The hosts led twice in the game but the Black Cats never gave up and got their reward with a late equaliser. Defender Aji Alese making just his second start for the club equalised just before halftime after Watford had taken a 34th-minute lead.

A second-half own goal put Watford back in the lead but Sunderland’s youngsters would not be denied. As the game wore on Tony Mowbray’s men battled for an equaliser and on 87 minutes it arrived. 18-year-old Costa Rica international winger Jewison Bennette who signed late in August scored his first goal for Sunderland and his first in English football.

The Black Cats deserved their point from the game and had the game gone on any longer, it would have been them that collected the three points. However, four points from two away games shows that this Sunderland side have what it takes to have a successful season.

Going into the international break Mowbray’s side are fifth in the table having already played seven of the current top 10 sides in the division

Sunderland Weekly Round-Up: Young Guns Show Future Is Bright

Sunderland’s recruitment model is to sign young talented players who they can develop into first-team regulars and if they wish to sell for a substantial profit.

This summer the club have brought in the likes of Jack Clarke, Jewison Bennette, Edouard Michut, Aji Alese, Dan Ballard and Abdoullah Ba on permanent deals plus Ellis Simms and Amad Diallo on loan from Everton and Manchester United. The oldest of these players is Ballard at 22 years old. Three are still teenagers.

Simms has shown he has the qualities to be a top striker. Jack Clarke has scored outstanding goals and impressed in an unfamiliar wing-back role. Ballard and Alese have shown their defensive qualities when they have played and Bennette has shown his quickness and finishing ability in his very short time on Wearside.

Speaking after the game at Watford, Tony Mowbray praised his youngsters. He said: “You have to earn my trust as a football manager, and in training every day they’ve done that. They’re positive, direct, play with a smile on their face. They all want to do extra work.

“They’re young kids with a mission and a goal to play in the English leagues and you have to give them the opportunity, you can’t keep knocking them back and leaving them on the bench.

“They showed everyone, all those fans in a red-and-white shirt behind that goal, that these young kids could be something good going forward.

“It’s exciting, I wouldn’t put them on the pitch if I didn’t think they could impact it and they are doing that.

Injury News: Ellis Simms and Dennis Cirkin Expected to Return for Next Game

The Sunderland weekly-round-up ends with the latest injury news. Striker Ellis Simms who was injured in the victory at Reading is expected to recover in time to be in contention for the game against Preston North End on October 1st. Head coach Tony Mowbray is hopeful that Simms will be available following the international break. He said: “It’s OK having a jog about and thinking you’re OK, but in a Championship match where there is no hiding place I think it made more sense just to give him a couple of weeks.

“Then I would hope by the Preston game when we restart that he’ll be in contention. We’ll have to wait and see, of course, because until he gets his boots on and starts sprinting then we won’t know for sure.”
Defender Dennis Cirkin is also on course to return. The former Tottenham Hotspur fullback injured his hamstring against Middlesbrough and missed the games at Reading and Watford. Having spoken to the physios, Mowbray believes Cirkin will be available after the international break. He said: “I get a report every day from the physios and I hope that he will be available after the international break, I’ve no reason to think that he won’t be from the information I’ve had.

“He’ll have to go through the process of getting out there, running, kicking, twisting and turning, and sometimes in that process something can be not quite right but with Dennis we’re hopeful that won’t be the case.”