LiveSunderland AFC transfer news RECAP: Lee Johnson reveals details of fresh 'COVID situation' ahead of Bristol Rovers

Sunderland face Bristol Rovers in a big game in League One tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 3:00 pm

The Black Cats could move into the automatic promotion places with a win at the Memorial Stadium and will go into the game full of confidence after winning eight of their last league 10 games.

Lee Johnson spoke to the press earlier today and provided a full injury update ahead of the match – including the situation with Bailey Wright and Jordan Jones.

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Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson.
Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson.

Sunderland AFC transfer news: RECAP (March 26)

Last updated: Friday, 26 March, 2021, 14:53

  • Lee Johnson spoke to the media earlier today ahead of this weekend’s trip to Bristol Rovers.
  • Bailey Wright remains out with an injury while Jordan Jones is also a doubt.
  • The Black Cats are just two points of second-placed Peterborough United but have a game in hand over Posh
  • Sunderland had two COVID-19 cases earlier this week but most recent test in the group has been all negative.

Thanks for joining us today

We’re signing off for today but have plenty more Black Cats content on the SAFC section of the Echo website.

We’ll also have live updates, in-game analysis and post-match reaction from the Memorial Stadium when Sunderland face Bristol Rovers tomorrow.

See you soon.

Barton takes aim at Bristol Rovers predecessors

Joey Barton has delivered an extraordinary press conference ahead of Sunderland’s clash with Bristol Rovers – during which he blasted his predecessors.

The 38-year-old is aiming to steer the Gas away from the relegation zone, with the side currently two points adrift of safety.

“These lads haven’t had a chance,” he said.

“Whatever has gone before me has been negligent. If they were doctors, they should certainly be struck off for what’s gone on here before, but we can’t do anything about that.

“At some point those coaches will probably want to take me to task on that and I’ll have absolutely no issue in showing them exactly what they got wrong and where they got it wrong, and they’ll be better coaches for it, so if they want to get on the phone and have a conversation with me, no problem at all, but the job that’s been done before we got here is negligent and they’ve set these boys up for failure and we’ve got to try to reverse that trend.

“They’re a good set of lads, they care about the club and they care about getting better, but you forget that they’re young, they’re getting battered on social media.”

A full injury update - including the latest on Denver Hume...

Here’s Lee Johnson!

The Sunderland head coach has arrived for his press conference - and here’s what he had to say...

On a fresh COVID scare...

We had a little COVID-situation. One was a player who hasn’t been in the squad much and has been injured.

Johnson went on to confirm that the latest round of testing had given the Sunderland squad the all-clear, meaning there were no issues ahead of the weekend clash against Bristol Rovers.

On injuries...

We’re getting there. Bailey is not immediately close, Jordan Jones is a lot closer. He’s probably 70/30 against being invovevd tomorrow. Flanagan is back on the grass but a couple of weeks away. He might need a steroid injection in his foot.

On Bristol Rovers...

It’s another one of these Sunderland hoodoos - and another one we need to banish. They’re fighting for their lives. Joey has been a winner all his career. I was at the game on Tuesday night, it was scrappy but committed. Bristol Rovers were really unlucky.

On mental state...

We’ve just tried to focus on in-game scenarios and what we did well and what we can do better. The next opportunity for three points is this game, and if we do a number of the minute things at world class level then that might give us an advantage in a moment - and then we need to take that moment. We need to make sure we keep improving.

On Blackpool beating Peterborough...

It honestly hasn’t been mentioned, and I’m pleased it hasn’t been. Our focus has to be on ourselves. We have to make sure we concentrate solely on what we do and what we do well.

On the run-in...

What can we control? We can control how we are and make sure we’re in that flow of performances.

On the squad...

We’ve got good lads here, we really have. Everyone is hugely valued within our squad and whatever moment of time they’re in it doesn’t stop them being a leader.

Lee Johnson is coming up shortly!

Stick with us for live updates from his pre-Bristol Rovers press conference...

The club’s chief operating officer has explained the move...

Luke O’Nien on Sunderland expectations

Luke O’Nien has been discussing the Black Cats’ recent form ahead of this weekend’s trip to Bristol Rovers.

The 26-year-old is the co-host of a podcast, The Footballer’s Mindset podcast and also talked about the expectations at the club.

“The last two or three years, we kinda had that expectation, pretty much every game we’ve played in because we’re a giant in League One,” he said.

“Every team that comes we are expected to win and, for example, this season we have 10 games to go, we expect every game we go into to win but I think probably it’s the first time where the expectation from the outside is met by the inside, in terms of I think we genuinely believe now that we are going into games and we can win every single one of them.

“I’m not saying that we didn’t have that belief the last couple of seasons but I think the proof is in the feel in the camp is there, the understanding around the boys, you can just feel it.

“There’s just a feel around a club that’s just unexplainable and we’ve got that, if you’re losing a game you feel like you can come back.

“We were 2-0 down to Crewe away the other day and we scored two late goals, it wasn’t our best performance but we can almost feel that we’re going to win and the goals going to come from somewhere.

“So having that expectation is something that I think we’ve always had.”

Roy Keane looks set to bag the Celtic manager job.

Football Insider claim the Parkhead club have held talks with the former Sunderland boss and are ‘ready’ to offer him the job.

Indeed, Betfair have suspended betting on the move happening.

Betfair suspend betting on Roy Keane to Celtic

Betfair spokesperson Sam Rosbottom said: “Following a flurry of bets on Roy Keane to become the next Celtic manager, Betfair has suspended betting on who will take over at Celtic Park.

“On Monday, Keane was 15/2 to take over from Neil Lennon but punters heavily backed the Irishman into 1/3 before the market was suspended on Thursday afternoon.

“It seems clear to punters that Celtic are ready to name their new manager and that Roy Keane will be walking through the door any time now.”

Roy Keane now odds on favourite for Celtic job - Oddschecker

Celtic ‘open talks’ with former Sunderland boss

Celtic have opened talks with Roy Keane about becoming their new manager.

That’s according to Football Insider, who state that the former Sunderland boss could now be set for the Parkhead hotseat in a sensational return to the dugout.

Keane hasn't worked as a manager since leaving Ipswich 10 years ago but has enjoyed coaching roles with Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and the Republic of Ireland.

A ‘Celtic source’ has told the website that discussions are underway with Keane and the club are ‘ready’ to offer him the post following the sacking of Neil Lennon

Niall Quinn talks about THAT night in Bury back in 2006

You kind of know when you’re not cut out to be a manager,” Quinn said to The Athletic. “I knew a few minutes into a game at Bury that this wasn’t for me.”

“For a few days before the Bury game we changed things around and got a young Spanish player, Arnau Riera, in on a free transfer,” Quinn explains. “He played in the same youth team at Barcelona as Iniesta and Messi, and we thought we would unleash him.

“It was difficult at Bury — you had to go out the dressing rooms, up the stairs and back down to where I needed to be (on the touchline to watch the game).

“By the time I got there, Riera’s running across the pitch. I’m looking at him, going, ‘What’s up with him? Is he going to the toilet or something?’ The nearest person to me said, ‘He’s just been sent off, gaffer’.

“He’d swung an elbow at somebody and got sent off before I’d taken my place in the dugout. I actually do remember looking up (to the heavens) and thinking, ‘You don’t want me to do this, do you?’”

What are the latest transfer reports?

Sunderland continue to be linked with moves for defender Dion Sanderson and striker Guy Melamed.

The Daily Mail state that the Black Cats have entered negotiations with Wolves about a deal for Sanderson.

However, the £2m-rated 21-year-old has also been linked with Sheffield United, Brighton, Brentford and Crystal Palace.

And Football Insider claims that Sunderland are one of three clubs eyeing a potential summer move for St Johnstone man Melamed.

The Black Cats, Portsmouth and Ipswich Town have all been credited with an interest in the attacker.

How the League One table looks ahead of this weekend’s games


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