Elmo won’t be back at Sunderland for long

Ahmed Elmohamady
Ahmed Elmohamady
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AHMED Elmohamady’s return to Sunderland is expected to be a brief one before he heads back out of the Stadium of Light exit door.

Elmohamady resumed training at the Academy of Light this morning after Sunderland triggered the recall clause on the Egyptian’s season-long loan switch to Hull City on Tuesday night.

The 25-year-old has starred in the Championship since being reunited with former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce at the KC Stadium last August, playing an integral role in propelling Hull to the automatic promotion places.

But Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill has become concerned at the depth of his squad and after being unable to name a full-strength bench for Tuesday’s FA Cup defeat to Bolton, opted to recall Elmohamady.

The winger, set to be included in the squad to face Wigan on Saturday, is not likely to be back on Wearside for long though, with Sunderland envisaging Elmohamady providing short-term cover before heading out on loan again, either to Hull or elsewhere.

But it is not thought Elmohamady’s recall is a precursor to a permanent move to another club.

Elmohamady’s camp are unaware of any interest from elsewhere and are understandably concerned that he will again be reduced to a bit-part role at Sunderland after becoming a first-team regular at Hull.

The former ENPPI man has made 23 appearances for the Tigers after not starting a game under O’Neill.

A source close to the player said: “Ahmed obviously would love to play at Sunderland, but if he is not going to be involved or given game time, it would be a shame to end his loan at Hull. He has done so well there and managed to get his career back on track under Steve Bruce.”

It is understood that there was a deal in place to make Elmohamady’s loan spell permanent if Hull managed to achieve promotion to the top flight.

And there are suspicions at the KC Stadium that Sunderland may have recalled Elmohamady as an attempt to force through a permanent transfer this month.

Certainly, when O’Neill was contemplating recalling Elmohamady’s fellow loanee David Meyler from Hull before Christmas, it led to Bruce making a £1.5million offer for the Irish midfielder.

But O’Neill told the Echo a fortnight ago that he was considering Elmohamady, due to concerns over the depth of Sunderland’s squad.

“We have an opportunity where we have a clause which means we can call him back this month if we want to,” he said.

Although O’Neill has managed to bring in Alfred N’Diaye and Kader Mangane this month, Meyler and Ji Dong-won have both departed, while the Black Cats have agreed to cancel the remaining six months of Louis Saha’s contract.

With Carlos Cuellar and Danny Rose both on the treatment table too, O’Neill is not blessed with options until he can make further inroads in the transfer market this month.