Sunderland AFC news RECAP: Simon Grayson's message plus Leon Dajaku and Denver Hume latest ahead of Fleetwood clash

Sunderland lead the way at the top of the League One table following an impressive start to the campaign.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 3:32 pm

Next in Lee Johnson’s side’s way is Fleetwood Town, managed by former Black Cats boss Simon Grayson.

Johnson will have to make at least one change to their starting XI after defender Tom Flanagan picked up his fifth yellow card of the season last time out.

Indeed, the Cats boss spoke to the media on Wednesday afternoon as he prepares for the trip to the Highbury Stadium.

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Sunderland AFC news RECAP (September 16)

Last updated: Thursday, 16 September, 2021, 15:23

  • Sunderland are top of the League One table after three consecutive wins in League One.
  • Lee Johnson has spoken to the media ahead of this weekend’s trip to Fleetwood Town.
  • Johnson expects new signing Leon Dajaku to make his Sunderland debut at some stage over the next week.
  • Fleetwood boss Simon Grayson held his pre-match press conference earlier today.

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We’re signing off for today but will be back bright and early tomorrow.

You can find more Black Cats news, analysis and more on the SAFC section of the Echo website as Lee Johnson’s side prepare for Saturday’s trip to Fleetwood.

See you soon.

Fleetwood boss Simon Grayson has been speaking to the media today ahead of his side’s meeting with Sunderland.

The Cod Army are 17th in the table but did beat Rotherham 4-2 last time out.

And despite Sunderland sitting top of the division, Grayson believes his side can match the Black Cats.

“I don’t focus on the league table, nor do I read it at this point and I’m not interested in what other teams do,” said Grayson when asked about Sunderland.

“Our main focus is how we’re doing; allegedly Sunderland are top of the table but we have to make sure we embrace these games.

“Not many teams enjoy coming to Highbury, they will look at us and see we’re on a decent run of form and have some quality players.

“We do have to respect Sunderland though, they will think they’re far too big for the division and will think they have been here for far too long, no-one has a divine right to get out of the division, you have to earn it.”

Denver Hume is also making good progress as he builds his fitness, having overcome a hamstring injury and signed a new contract at the club.

Sunderland’s under-23s clash with Middlesbrough on Monday will likely come too soon for the left-back, but Johnson expects to see Hume in action before too long.

“Denver is doing well,” said Johnson.

“We’ve had three really tough days and he’s coped.

“He’s moving well, he always does but he looks powerful.

“We’ve got to be careful with it given the recurrence of the injury before but it’s been so far, so good.

“We’re talking constantly to Denver during sessions, making sure he’s feeling OK.

This is good to hear.

Lee Johnson has revealed that defender Arbenit Xhemajli has rejoined full training with the Sunderland first team.

Though the Kosovan remains some way off a return to competitive action, it marks a major milestone in his recovery from major knee ligament damage.

The 23-year-old had made just one appearance from the Black Cats after joining from Neuchatel Xamax when he suffered the injury while on international duty.

Johnson said: ”Arbenit trained with us today.

“He’s obviously a bit of a way off in terms of being considered for selection, but it was good to see him out there.

“He’s trained properly for the last couple of days and that’s a real heartwarming moment, because I know how hard he’s had to work and how hard to work the physios to get to this point.

“That’s really good news for us.

“It’s really important that we protect him because it was a really, really bad injury.

“I’m wincing every time he goes in for a 50/50 but every time he comes out of it, that belief from all of us grows stronger.”

Let’s have another look at this weekend’s team news.

Lee Johnson expects Leon Dajaku to make his Sunderland debut at some stage over the next week following his loan arrival on Wearside.

The winger wasn’t in the Black Cats’ squad for the game against Accrington Stanley but is set to travel with the squad to Fleetwood.

Johnson will have to make one change with defender Tom Flanagan suspended.

Either Bailey Wright or Frederik Alves will be expected to replace Flanagan in defence.

Denver Hume and Arbenit Xhemajli are making progress after long-term setbacks.

How Sunderland midfielder Carl Winchester made defensive spot his own in Lee Johnson’s side...

Comment and analysis from Joe Ramage below:

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