Sunderland AFC news: Cats braced for busy April, Jordan Pickford praised, Everton fall out

Jordan Pickford won praise for his performance against Everton
Jordan Pickford won praise for his performance against Everton
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The date of Sunderland’s crunch Premier League game with relegation rivals Middlesbrough could be confirmed this week.

David Moyes was due to take his Sunderland side to the Riverside on Saturday, March 11 but the game is having to be rearranged as a result of Boro progressing in the FA Cup.

Premier League bosses are expected to wait until Manchester City have played Huddersfield Town on Wednesday night in their FA Cup fifth round replay before rearranging the Tees-Wear derby.

The postponement of the game at the Riverside coupled with the next international break means Sunderland only have two games next month; Manchester City at the Stadium of Light on

Sunday before they host Burnley on Saturday, March 18.

The Boro game will be rearranged for a midweek night, expected to be in April, which is already a very busy month with games against Watford, Leicester City, Manchester United, West Ham United, Arsenal and AFC Bournemouth.

Sunderland have been handed an allocation of 2,926 tickets for the Tees-Wear derby.

For the latest SAFC news head to our live blog:
Meanwhile, David Moyes praised Jordan Pickford on his return to the Sunderland side – even if he looked a “little rusty” after two months out.

The 22-year-old spent eight weeks out of the side after injuring his knee in the defeat to Manchester United on Boxing Day.

Moyes said: "Yeah, I sensed that with his handling a little bit. But I still felt he made a couple of really important saves for us.

"A little bit rusty maybe, but, overall, I felt he did very well."

Read his full comments here:
And finally, Sunderland writer Phil Smith has been taking an in-depth look at the reasons behind the 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park.

Phil wrote: "First and foremost it was because of their superior midfield, Idrissa Gueye demonstrating why former Leicester transfer supremo Steve Walsh felt he was a player who could genuinely go some way to emulating N'Golo Kante's extraordinary success.

"His energy was remarkable, breaking up play, showing some good passing ability and breaking Sunderland's lines with late runs towards the box.

"What also made a crucial difference was the way the Blues were able to exploit that platform through their pace and power in the wide areas."

Read Phil's in-depth analysis here: