Sunderland AFC news: Selection dilemma for Allardyce, award for Black Cats striker, Pantilimon praise

Sam Allardyce
Sam Allardyce
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Sunderland travel to Arsenal on Saturday looking to make it a hat-trick of victories in the Premier League.

And boss Sam Allardyce has a selection dilemma ahead of the trip to the Emirates.

The Sunderland boss is sweating on the fitness of Jermain Defoe (hamstring) and Seb Larsson (knee) for Saturday’s clash at the Emirates, yet he will have one player available again after Billy Jones served his one-match ban in last weekend’s win over Stoke.

Should he stick with Spurs loanee DeAndre Yedlin though?

Meanwhile, Sunderland Ladies and England striker Beth Mead says she was honoured to win the inaugural North East Football Writers’ Ladies Player of the Year award.

The SAFC Ladies striker enjoyed a blistering campaign in front of goal as the Lasses took the FAWSL 1 by storm, netting an incredible 12 league strikes – five more than Arsenal’s Natalia Pablos Sanchon who finished runner-up.

"I was very humbled to win and it was nice to get my name on the trophy because it's the first time it's been awarded," said Mead.

"I was very proud because it not only recognised my performances throughout the season but also the overall performance of the team.

"There is a lot of talent in the north east throughout a variety of leagues, so to be named as the North East Football Writers' Ladies Player of the Year was a massive privilege."

And finally, Costel Pantilimon has been in good form for Sunderland - with his manager singling him out for praise.

"The goalkeeper is the second most important man in the team, for me.

"After your goalscorer, they’re the one who win the points. He’s impressed me immensely since I’ve been here," said Allardyce.