Lee Johnson told to 'take pressure off' youngster as Carl Winchester lifts lid on Forest Green transfer

Sunderland return to action against Mansfield Town in the FA Cup first round proper on Saturday at the Stadium of Light – but there’s still plenty of news doing the rounds.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 9:22 am

That’s after the Black Cats suffered defeat in each of their last three League One fixtures against Charlton Athletic, Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday.

Here, though, we take a look at some of the more interesting Sunderland and League One stories from around the web:


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Callum Doyle

Ex-Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips has stated that Lee Johnson should consider resting defender Callum Doyle.

The centre-back, who is on loan from Manchester City, has played 1213 minutes for Sunderland so far this campaign,

When asked by Football Insider if Doyle would benefit from a rest, Phillips said: “I think Lee Johnson will bring him out now.

“Some players play through a loss of form but that‘s more players who have lots of experience behind them. Those kind of players know how to deal with it and know how to deal with the situation.

“Doyle is a young kid. Players of that age don’t know how to get out of a rut. They tend to just dig the hole a bit deeper. Their performances get progressively worse.

“This is now an opportunity to take him out of the team for the FA Cup and the EFL Trophy. Give him a rest, sit him down, show him his good performances and make him feel good about himself again.

“He is a top player but sometimes as a player you need to look from the outside in.

“Sunderland have players that can come in, provide cover and take the pressure off Doyle.”


Black Cats midfielder Carl Winchester has lifted the lid on his transfer from Forest Green to Sunderland last January.

The 28-year-old has cemented himself as a key cog in Johnson’s defence at right-back, having signed as a midfielder during last season’s winter window.

Winchester told the Heaven’s Devils Podcast: “It was a dream come true! It was my dream as a kid to play for one of the biggest clubs in England and Sunderland are a sleeping giant, it has everything in place.

“That club will go again, we could be back in the Premier League in a number for years – we have everything in place: The fan base, the stadium, the facilities, we have everything. When [the move] it happened, I didn’t believe it. I was like ‘Sunderland want me, what?’

"There was no way I could ever turn it down; my family back home was buzzing. All the hard work I’d put in, I finally had something to show for it.

“I spoke to the club [Forest Green] and they said they didn’t want me to go – but they would help me as I’d been a brilliant servant to them.

"I was gutted in a way, because I had unfinished business and wanted to get promoted but I knew an opportunity like this wouldn’t come along again, especially at my age. I had to go, especially for a club like Sunderland.”

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