Sunderland AFC news: Cats linked with £5million Barnsley defender, fit-again striker pledges 'we will keep fighting'

Sunderland boss David Moyes
Sunderland boss David Moyes
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Sunderland have been linked with a summer move for £5million-rated Barnsley defender Marc Roberts.

The 26-year-old 6ft 4ins centre-back has impressed for the Championship side this season with his form attracting the interest of top flight clubs.

Sunderland's status as a Premier League side is looking bleaker by the week, with relegation to the Championship on the cards after the 3-0 defeat to Manchester United.

Barnsley are reported to value Roberts - who has scored four goals in 40 appearances this season - at £5million.

The Tykes sold Roberts' former defensive partner Alfie Mawson - a former Sunderland target - to Swansea City in the summer.

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Former-Black Cat Kevin Kilbane admits he is surprised that David Moyes remains in charge of Sunderland, but also thinks his old boss is the man to bring Sunderland back up from the Championship.

The 3-0 home defeat to Manchester United yesterday means the Wearsiders remain routed to the bottom of the table, and 10 points from safety with just seven games remaining.

Kilbane, who was managed by Moyes at both Preston North End and Everton, said in an interview with the BBC: "Over the past few seasons, if the Black Cats have been struggling in March then their trigger-happy owner Ellis Short has made the change of boss, and it has had a positive impact on the team.

"That has not happened this time, even though Sunderland are in a terrible position.

"I don’t see them avoiding relegation, and I have thought that for a number of weeks now."

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Victor Anichebe has admitted things can only get better for Sunderland as they attempt to drag themselves back from the brink of Premier League relegation.

Anichebe's return from a long-term injury has at least given beleaguered manager David Moyes a welcome boost, but it will take a repeat of the kind of heroics which have saved the club in the last four seasons if they are to avoid disaster this time around.

The chances of that appear to be remote with Moyes' side having won just one of their last 14 league games, but Anichebe for one is not giving up hope.

He said: "It's difficult, but that's life, that's football. I need to just keep going, the team need to just keep going and we need to just grind out results however we can for the fans who are here.

"They come in their thousands to support us every single week, even though times are really difficult. I haven't been in a position like this before with losses, and it's difficult.

"As much as it's difficult for them, it's difficult for us as well, it's difficult for everybody. But we need to just carry on, keep going because it's not good enough, let's be honest, it's definitely not good enough.

"We need to improve together as a team and we need to keep fighting. I hope that we'll improve, and we will improve. We will improve. Like I said, it can't get any worse.

"Hopefully everyone stays fit, everyone stays together, the fans and us and we just keep trying, keep working hard and play as well as we can."