Sunderland new boys Diakite and Cabral down the pecking order

Cabral and Modibo Diakite
Cabral and Modibo Diakite
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IT might disappoint conspiracy theorists, but Kevin Ball says there is no secret reason behind Modibo Diakite not appearing in his first couple of games in charge, or Cabral’s lack of action in general this season.

Many fans have been left scratching their heads over the absence of Diakite against Peterborough and Liverpool, while many more have wondered why Cabral has not been more involved after impressing in his debut game against Fulham.

But Ball says centre-half Diakite, like central midfielder Cabral have simply been edged out by their team-mates.

Cabral has featured in only two games this season – the league opener against Fulham in which he did well, and the League Cup game against MK Dons, in which he did not.

Diakite meanwhile recovered from early season injury to play against Southampton, Crystal Palace, Arsenal and West Brom but has not played again since Paolo Di Canio’s departure after the Hawthorns defeat.

The interim head coach though was surprised to hear that questions have been raised about the absence of the former Lazio defender from his side.

“There’s no problem at all with Diakite,” shrugged Ball when he was asked about it at the Academy this week. “It’s not that he has been injured,

“It’s just that I chose to go with the players I did for those games.

“There’s no hidden reason.

“It’s just that at the moment we’ve chosen to go with the set of players we have done and as things stood, he missed out.

“That’s not something that might not change in a week or two weeks but who knows?

“People shouldn’t read anything into it.

“Personally,I thought Cabral did well against Fulham but there was a view that he wasn’t doing enough in training to warrant his selection ahead of others, and that’s his challenge.

“He’s a good player but he needs to do more.”

Ball, though ,understood the viewpoints of supporters.

He told the Echo: “Football is all about talking points and fans go on what they see.

“But coaching staff see players every day on the training ground and they’ll look to pick the best team for the opposition they’re facing, along with who has performed best in training.

“Sometimes decisions taken must look confusing to those who are outside the training sessions.

“But in terms of the two players mentioned, it’s not that there’s any reason other than that we look to pick the best starting XI.

That is based on what we see in training and obviously for the public it’s harder for them to see who has performed particularly well in any given week.

“They just have to trust the fact that coaching staff will have their reasons for why someone is starting ahead of somebody else.”