The latest edition of the Sunderland weekly round-up takes a look at the latest news from the Stadium of Light and Wearside. Tony Mowbray and his squad have headed to Dubai for a warm-weather training camp; however, the trip has caused concern among some fans. Mowbray has also been discussing with the recruitment department this past week about which positions he would like to strengthen during the next transfer window.
Also, two England stars and a former Black Cats captain have been awarded the freedom of the city of Sunderland.
Sunderland Weekly Round-Up: Freedom of City Given to England Stars and Tony Mowbray Eyes January Transfer Deals
Freedom of the City Given to Wearside Stars
Two of England’s Lionesses Jill Scott and Steph Houghton have been given the freedom of the city of Sunderland. The pair are legends of the women’s game, come from the area and started their careers on Wearside. Former Black Cats captain and defender Gary Bennett has also been given the award.
Scott, currently in Australia competing in this year’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, retired from football following England’s win in the Euro 2022 final at Wembley. Scott played 161 games for her country, scoring 27 goals from midfield. Beginning her career at Sunderland as a teenager, she went on to succeed at Everton, Manchester City and England, winning multiple trophies both domestically and internationally. Scott also starred for Great Britain at two Olympics.
Steph Houghton, another legend of the women’s game joins her former teammate Jill Scott in receiving the honour. Like Scott, Houghton began her career at Sunderland before playing for Leeds United, Arsenal and Manchester City, winning many trophies in a glittering career. An England international with 121 caps to her name, many as captain, she led her country to third place at the 2015 World Cup. Houghton also played for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, scoring three goals in four games from left-back.
Former captain, defender, legend and anti-racism campaigner Gary Bennett will also receive the honour. Playing over 400 games in all competitions, he became a hero to fans with his all-action style and some memorable goals. Awarded an MBE in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to anti-racism in football, Bennett is also a radio co-commentator for Sunderland games both home and away.
Tony Mowbray Wants to Strengthen Squad in January
Head coach Tony Mowbray has spoken this past week about strengthening his squad in the January transfer window. The Black Cats have had their fair share of injury problems this season and Mowbray will be keen to bolster his squad. Speaking to the Sunderland Echo Mowbray said: “We have had conversations and know what areas we would like to strengthen.
“At this moment I haven’t seen the list that the recruitment department are putting together. I don’t know the levels of financial support there will be to sign the players in the positions that we want to sign. I’m sure them moments are coming. “We have had one meeting and have identified where we feel we need to strengthen the team positionally.”
Sunderland have endured injuries to several key players, especially in defensive and forward positions. For several games, Mowbray was unable to field a striker due to injuries and has had to change his defence many times. Despite this, Sunderland have adapted well in their first season back in the Championship and are currently 15th on 27 points from 20 games. However; they are just four points off the playoff places. Had Mowbray been able to field more of his first team, their points tally could have been a lot higher.
Sunderland Weekly Round-Up: Black Cats Head to Dubai but Supporters Groups Raise Concerns
Supporters have been in touch concerned about SAFC's decision to play a freindly against Saudi side Al-Shabab. We are taking these concerns to the club.
— Red & White Army (@RedAndWhite2017) November 18, 2022
Sunderland have headed to Dubai for a week’s warm weather training. While there, Tony Mowbray will be hoping that several players will be able to step up their recovery from injury and be available for their next league game in December 3rd. While in Dubai, the team will play one friendly game against Saudi Arabian side Al-Shabab Football Club this Friday.
However, many fans have raised their concerns over the proposed friendly and have contacted supporters groups. One group, The Spirit of 37 raised their own concerns. They tweeted: “This fixture goes against everything we stand for. If the club are serious about supporter engagement then The Spirit of 37 would urge the club to reconsider immediately. Morals before money every time.”
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