Sunderland AFC news: Black Cats swoop for West Ham defender, plans for Dubai training camp, Mead joy

Is the Sunderland squad off to Dubai?
Is the Sunderland squad off to Dubai?
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Sunderland aren't wasting any time ahead of the January transfer window - with West Ham United defender James Collins a definite target.

Boss Sam Allardyce is looking to bolster his defensive options and the interest in Collins is genuine, with Allardyce eager to boost his scant central defensive options by bringing in the Welsh international next month.

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce

The 32-year-old’s deal expires at West Ham at the end of the season and there has been little indication of extending his stint at the club.

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Meanwhile, Allardyce is planning to take his Sunderland squad to Dubai in February so they can recharge their batteries, according to reports today.

Sunderland are second from bottom in the Premier League table and play Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool in their next three games.

"The Christmas period is relentless. All you do is travel, play, recover, travel, play, recover," said Allardyce.

"More and more figures (statistics) prove that winter breaks work. My previous teams have had breaks in Dubai for five or six days in February.

"We just get the players relaxed in Dubai. Switch them off and tell them they don’t have to worry about football. Just relax and come back and get ready for the big push at the end of the season.

"In physical terms you get a great benefit. Every team I’ve had has always physically done better, which generally gives you better results.

"And that’s only a five-day break."

Sunderland Ladies striker Beth Mead has been speaking of her delight after scooping a trio of awards at the 2015 FA Women’s Super League awards ceremony.

As well as winning the top goalscorer award, Mead was awarded the Vauxhall England Young Player of the Year and the Women’s Super League Players' Player of the Year at the annual award ceremony at Wembley Stadium.

A delighted Mead said: "I think they’ll be my favourite Christmas present this year!

"I only thought I was going to collect the top goalscorer award so to have been awarded the Vauxhall Young Player of the Year award as well as the Players' Player of the Year was a massive honour for me.

"(The Player’s Player of the Year award) was the best award to win. Obviously I’ve played against those players all season, so for them to recognise that I’ve had a good season was that little bit extra special."

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