THE SAGA over David Meyler’s return from Hull City continues, with Sunderland still to activate the recall clause in the midfielder’s loan deal.
Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill has spent the past fortnight considering whether to bring Meyler back to the Stadium of Light ahead of the January 1 expiry date on his stint at the KC Stadium.
O’Neill opted not to recall Meyler before Boxing Day’s clash with Manchester City, when the 23-year-old would have been suspended anyway after collecting a fifth yellow card of the season in Hull’s win at Derby last week.
But with Danny Rose ineligible to face Spurs today, O’Neill looked certain to finally bring the curtain down on Meyler’s loan spell with the Championship promotion chasers.
Even yesterday morning, O’Neill again reiterated that Meyler was likely to be recalled and he planned to speak with Hull boss and former Black Cats manager Steve Bruce.
“I need to recall him because we’ve got the three games against Spurs, Liverpool and Bolton before we can even take a breather,” said O’Neill.
“While it’s done him great to get games and I’m sure Hull will be disappointed, we don’t have the wherewithal to do without him.”
But Sunderland didn’t invoke the recall clause in Meyler’s deal yesterday and he was included in the Tigers squad to face Leeds today.
Meyler’s loan deal is due to expire next Tuesday, with Sunderland travelling to Liverpool the following day.
O’Neill must now decide whether he wants to end Meyler’s loan stint 24 hours early, to prevent the Republic of Ireland international featuring for Hull at Blackpool on New Year’s Day.
Meanwhile, Meyler’s Ireland team-mate John O’Shea is still suffering from illness, albeit the former Manchester United defender has a chance of returning to the fold against Spurs.
O’Shea, who shone for the Black Cats in last weekend’s crucial win at Southampton, missed Boxing Day’s victory over Manchester City after he was under the weather when he reported for training on Christmas Day evening.
O’Neill said: “He’s feeling better, but he’s far from 100 per cent at the minute.
“He played very well at Southampton and we trained here on Christmas night and that was the first I heard he’d been unwell for a couple of days.
“He said that if the game was that night, he wouldn’t be fit.”