Message to Sunderland squad, forward discusses Newcastle and Everton goals plus ex-Liverpool goalkeeper reaches landmark: Gossip
Sunderland are stepping up their preparations ahead of their two-leg play-off semi-final against Lincoln – but what else has been happening in and around the Stadium of Light?
Here’s some of the latest Black Cats gossip from around the web.
Everyone is fighting for their futures says Gray
Sunderland legend Michael Gray says Sunderland players will be fighting for their futures in the play-offs.
The majority of the Black Cats’ squad will be out of contract at the end of this season, placing more importance on winning promotion from League One.
“Every single player at that club at this present time is fighting for their future,” Gray told Sky Sports.
“The only exception is Luke O’Nien, he is the only player in that current squad, I believe, that deserves to be part of Sunderland going forward.
“Why aren’t Sunderland running away with League One? We’re a massive club. If we don’t go up this time around, it’ll be a lot more difficult next season with the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Wycombe and Rotherham coming down – it gets harder the longer you’re down there.”
Trialist on Sunderland spell
Teenage forward Shane Temple has been on trial at Sunderland and has scored in successive under-18s games against Everton and Newcastle.
Temple, 18, plays for Isthmian League Division One North side AFC Sudbury and has been discussing his spell on Wearside.
The forward told Suffolk News: “In the second half Everton had a corner, it came up to me on the halfway line and I spun and took it through and hit it into the top corner from just inside the area.
“The ball came in from wide on the right and I just hit it on the volley and it went in.
“Scoring and also going to Newcastle and scoring, as a striker I could not have asked for any more really.”
500 games for former keeper
Finally, former Sunderland and Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has played the 500th game of his professional career.
The 33-year-old stopper currently plays for Belgian side Club Brugge and kept a clean sheet in a goalless draw against Royal Antwerp in his 500th match.
Mignolet told VoetbalKrant: “I am satisfied with a clean sheet, but not the approach of this match. As Club Brugge you always want to win.”