Jack Rodwell has said that Sunderland’s January business last season was a major boost in their quest for Premier League survival, and has called on his team-mates to show fight in adversity this time around.
Sam Allardyce added Wahbi Khazri, Jan Kirchhoff, Lamine Kone and Dame N’Doye to his squad last January, the former three all making defining contributions to the escape from the relegation zone. N’Doye did have less of an impact, but did score a crucial goal against Crystal Palace.
Financial constraints mean no such investment is likely this month, and the problems have been compounded by international call-ups.
Didier Ndong, Khazri and Kone could all be away until the middle of February.
Rodwell said: “Last year’s January window was good for us. If anything this one we have lost players because of the Africa Cup of Nations. You can’t dwell on that.
“We have to go out and play as the 11 he puts out. We have to fight in adversity.
“Whatever happens in the window is out of our hands, we have to keep going and if it doesn’t go our way we have to fight more.”
Rodwell also said that the Sunderland squad will have to show their fight and leadership abilities in the absence of some of the squad’s most established players.
Black Cats stalwart Lee Cattermole has only featured in two Premier League games this season, with many other established stars struggling with injury.
Rodwell said: “We have experience … Defoe, O’Shea, but there are a lot of injuries to big players like Lee Cattermole, who is a natural leader. We have to keep going and get the results without them.”