What Tony Mowbray said about Chris Wilder's Middlesbrough sacking, Ellis Simms injury and Edouard Michut

It’s a quick turnaround for Sunderland as they prepare to face Blackpool at the Stadium of Light – with head coach Tony Mowbray held his pre-match press conference earlier today.

The Black Cats were held to a goalless draw with Preston last time out and are eighth in the Championship table ahead of Tuesday’s match against the Tangerines.

Sunderland are still dealing with multiple injury setbacks, with strikers Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms both sidelined.

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Defender Dennis Cirkin has returned to training following a hamstring issue but wasn’t in the squad to face Preston.

Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray. Picture by FRANK REID

Here’s what was said at the Academy of Light:

RECAP: Tony Mowbray press conference

Key Events

  • Sunderland face Blackpool at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday (7:45pm kick-off).
  • Black Cats boss Tony Mowbray held his pre-match press conference earlier today.
  • Sunderland drew 0-0 with Preston at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
  • The Black Cats once again played without a recognised striker following injuries to Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms.
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That brings us to the end of the broadcast section of the press conference, but Mowbray has also spoken to the written press including our Sunderland writer Phil Smith.

We’ll have more from the Black Cats boss as well as build-up to Tuesday’s game over on the SAFC section of the Echo website.

Mowbray on Chris Wilder’s sacking at Middlesbrough

“It’s an emotional rollercoaster professional football management these days and we all understand that you have to win games.

“I would have looked at Chris Wilder, the team and players that they have, everybody would have had Middlesbrough up in the top six competing.

“What I would say is that they still very much could do that because if you look at third bottom to sixth top is only five or six points.

“The league is really, really congested and a win can catapulte you up into the top six, and a defeat can drop you down to the bottom half of the table.”

Mowbray on Ellis Simms

“Ellis’ situation won’t be changing over the next week or two, I don’t think. I’m hoping I’ll surprise you all in two or three weeks by saying Ellis is back training and you might see him on the bench, but at the moment, that’s not the case.

“We have to be cautious with him. If you picture the injury, it’s his big toe, it’s a ligament and it needs some time to settle down. I don’t think it’s a case of ‘strap it up, lock the bottom half of his foot solid, and just put it in a boot’.

“If it was a cup final, the last day of the season, and we needed to win, we’d probably play him. But that’s not the case. Give him the time he needs, a couple of weeks, and hopefully we’ll have some news.”

“I think watching them they are a well coached team.

“I watched the game against Norwich at the weekend which they lost 1-0, as we lost 1-0 against Norwich at home.

“They were very positive, played on the front foot and showed they are a good team with good players.

“It’s very rare you would ever sit here and say ‘ we have to beat these, they are not very good’ and Blackpool are a well-coached, organised team, very athletic.

“If you are not right you will get beat and we have to make sure we are very competitive all over the pitch.”

Mowbray on Dennis Cirkin

“Dennis is ready, he’ll be on the bench I think tomorrow night.

“He’s over his injury, I had a good chat with him and together we just felt there was no need to risk it at the weekend, it gave him extra time to train. We think that was the best way to do it.

“He feels ready and I expect to see him on the team sheet tomorrow.”

Mowbray on Edouard Michut

“He fell a week behind when he first arrived because picked up a little injury, and needed some time to adapt to the intensity of the training.

“He’s catching up. I’m looking hard now to give him an opportunity because I think the supporters will see that he’s more than capable of playing in our first team.

“He’s very elegant and he’s got two lovely feet. He’s got a great passing range, very confident with the ball, and he will be involved very soon.

“I can feel a little bit of frustration from him, and I don’t mind that. He will be given an opportunity very soon.”

Mowbray on Jewison getting the bus home

“Fantastic wasn’t it.

“I saw the picture and felt like saying Wilf Mannion used to do that, or legendary Sunderland players of the past Bob Stokoe.

“It’s great that he’s done that.

“He’s acclimatising really and his dad is with him. After Watford his dad hadn’t arranged a trip home from Watford so we allowed him to come on the team coach with us and sit with his son.

“I was trying to get across to him that you’re not on the team bus every game you know.

“He’s a good kid, nice kid, is always happy around the building and seems happy at the moment. He has a World Cup to look forward to and has to get in this team. It’s pretty tough at the moment.”

Mowbray on playing without a striker

“I think the narrative of no centre forwards, I don’t want it to become a big issue.

“I think this team will score goals and will find ways to score goals and create enough chances to score goals.

“Throughout the season you are going to have games where you don’t score, it’s part and parcel of football and I feel pretty confident we will find a way to put the ball in the opposition’s net.

“At home we want to win football matches and keep them points ticking along and if we can find a way tomorrow night to get the three points and get four points, as we did in the two away games, if we take eight points from the four games it’s a pretty good return.”

So what’s the latest in terms of team news?

Sunderland once again played without a recognised striker on Saturday, with Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms both unavailable.

Stewart was diagnosed with a grade three thigh tear and expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks after sustaining the injury ahead of Sunderland’s match against Middlesbrough a month ago.

Mowbray has said he thinks Stewart will be back on the grass before the World Cup break in November, yet it’s unclear when the forward will return to competitive action.

Simms has also missed the Black Cats’ last two matches and it’s suspected the striker might have some ligament damage in his big toe.

The 21-year-old was set for further scans at parent club Everton to determine the next course of action.

Defender Dennis Cirkin returned to training during the international break but wasn’t named in the squad to face Preston.

Mowbray has also suggested new signing Edouard Michut is closing in on his Sunderland debut.

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