Sunderland AFC news round-up: Darron Gibson on key duo, Manchester United goalkeeper linked, Jermain Defoe threat

Sunderland boss David Moyes
Sunderland boss David Moyes
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Sunderland midfielder Darron Gibson hopes Victor Anichebe comes back "flying" from his spell training in the United States.

The forward has spent the past couple of weeks in the US working on his rehab work as he closes in on a return to the Sunderland side.

And January signing Gibson is fully aware of the impact Anichebe and influential midfielder Lee Cattermole can have on the club's survival hopes.

"Getting Catts back will be important,” said Gibson.

"He has a lot of experience, he is a good leader on the pitch while Victor’s ability to hold the ball up will be a big positive for us.

"Hopefully we can get them back after the international break and things will start going our way.

"He can be unplayable when he is on form so hopefully he comes back from America and is flying," Gibson told the club website.

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Goalkeeper linked - again:

Sunderland have again been linked with a summer move for Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.

The Black Cats were first linked with him in January after Jordan Pickford was ruled out for several weeks with a knee injury but that was just speculation with Johnstone quickly signing for Aston Villa on loan.

Villa boss Steve Bruce wants to make his loan deal a permanent one in the summer.

And with that comes fresh reports of Sunderland's interest, with Everton and Bournemouth also reported to be keeping tabs on him.

Watford wary of Jermain Defoe threat:

Watford defender Craig Cathcart admits Jermain Defoe has got better with age as he plots a way to nullify his threat after his exploits with England.

"It’s always a big challenge when you come up against Jermain Defoe,” said Cathcart.

"I’ve faced him a few times and he is a quality player.

"He is deadly in the box so you can’t afford to give him chances as he is such a good finisher. Watching him lately, he seems to have got better with age.

"He’s been in fine form this season but hopefully on Saturday when Sunderland come to our place we can stop his goals and stop his threat."

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