Sunderland AFC news: Kirchhoff lifts lid on Black Cats role, Allardyce previews huge Crystal Palace clash

Jan Kirchhoff has revealed he feels at home in the centre of midfield as the January recruit helps Sunderland battle relegation.

Monday, 29th February 2016, 10:29 am
Updated Monday, 29th February 2016, 10:36 am
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce

Kirchhoff was again Sunderland’s stand-out figure in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at West Ham, with the German dominating in the middle of the park after recovering from the hamstring issue which forced him off against Manchester United a fortnight earlier.

Kirchhoff told the Echo: "Most people, when they see me, think I'm a defender because I'm so tall.

"But all my life, I've played in midfield, especially as a youth.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"I enjoy that role because I like to have the ball.

"I'm a defensive midfield player and I’m trying to play that role as best I can."

Read Kirchhoff's full comments here:Meanwhile, Allardyce believes Jack Rodwell is not suffering from a crisis of confidence, despite his failure to convert two glorious opportunities at West Ham.

Substitute Rodwell could – and should – have drawn Sunderland level at Upton Park after a pair of gilt-edged opportunities went begging.

Allardyce said: "I wouldn't have thought Jack is short on confidence based on the way he played.

"He did actually score one, but it hit him on the hand. I’m not so sure that was a deliberate handball."

Read the full story here:Allardyce has confirmed he has no fresh injury problems ahead of Tuesday night's Barclays Premier League clash with Crystal Palace.

Allardyce, speaking at his pre-match press conference this morning, will select from the same squad which lost 1-0 at West Ham on Saturday despite creating a series of chances to get something from the game.

Only midfielder Jeremain Lens, who is recovering from hernia surgery and could return against Southampton at the weekend, and striker Duncan Watmore (ankle ligaments) will be missing for a game the Black Cats cannot afford to lose.

Provisional squad: Mannone, Pickford, Van Aanholt, Yedlin, O'Shea, Jones, Kone, Kaboul, Brown, Kirchhoff, Cattermole, M'Vila, Khazri, Borini, Rodwell, Toivonen, Larsson, Defoe, N'Doye.

Recap Allardyce's press conference here:And finally, Sunderland AFC supporters have sold out their fourteenth away day of the season ahead of this weekend’s Barclays Premier League fixture against Southampton FC.

2,252 of the red and white army will make the 660 mile round-trip when the Black Cats travel to St Mary’s on Saturday 5 March, 3pm kick-off.

That makes it over 1,100 miles in a week for SAFC fans who also sold out Saturday’s game away at West Ham United.

The Saints fixture is one of a number of games this season that have been afforded a discount of up to £10 on the cost of the ticket, thanks to Sunderland AFC’s away fans’ initiative.