Tag Archives: cattermole

Sunderland Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole ruled out for season with injury

Fletcher and Cattermole ruled out for rest of the season in massive blow for Sunderland

By
Colin Young

PUBLISHED:

14:54 GMT, 27 March 2013

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UPDATED:

18:04 GMT, 27 March 2013

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill was this afternoon dealt a devastating double blow when it was confirmed that both Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole will miss the rest of the season.

Leading scorer Fletcher suffered ankle ligament damage on international duty with Scotland last week, and midfielder Cattermole had surgery on a persistent knee problem earlier today.

Cattermole, meanwhile, has not played
for Sunderland since the 1-0 home defeat by Arsenal on February 9.

Agony: Fletcher was injured 90 seconds into Scotland's clash with Wales on Friday

Agony: Fletcher was injured 90 seconds into Scotland's clash with Wales on Friday

Lay-off: Sunderland now fear their top scorer could miss the rest of the season after an initial scan

Table

The statement added: 'Cattermole
underwent an operation on his knee earlier today and Fletcher sustained
ankle ligament damage whilst on international duty with Scotland.

'It is not known at this stage if
Fletcher will require an operation, with the injury requiring further
assessment in the coming weeks.

'Both players will play no further part in the Black Cats' 2012-13 Barclays Premier League season.'

The news could hardly have come at a
worse time for O'Neill, whose side find themselves firmly entrenched in
a battle for top-flight survival with eight games to
play.

They face leaders Manchester United
at the Stadium of Light on Saturday desperate to end a run of seven
league games without a victory, which has yielded just three points and
left them only four clear of the drop zone.

Fletcher in particular will be a huge
loss as he is top scorer with 11 goals.

However, having scored five in his
first four games for Sunderland following a 12million move from Wolves, he has managed only one in his last
seven, with the supply lines having dried up alarmingly.

Long-term absence: Lee Cattermole (left) has not played for the Black Cats since February

Long-term absence: Lee Cattermole (left) has not played for the Black Cats since February

Miliband stays at Sunderland

David Miliband is to remain a member of the club's board despite stepping down as MP for South Shields.

The former Labour Foreign Secretary has announced he is leaving UK politics to
take up a post with the US-based charity the International Rescue
Committee.

However, Mr Miliband, who joined the board as vice-chairman and
non-executive director in 2011, will maintain his links with the club.

Chief executive Margaret Byrne told Sunderland's official website: 'David's knowledge and experience have been a tremendous
benefit to Sunderland AFC.

'Naturally we are delighted that he is to continue in his role at the
club, and we also wish him every success with this new chapter of his
life.'

The 26-year-old was injured just two minutes into Scotland's 2-1 home defeat by Wales in Friday night's World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park and was carried from the field on a stretcher.

If he does need surgery, player and manager alike will hope he can return in time for the start of the new campaign.

O'Neill at least has January signing Danny Graham, who has played alongside Fletcher in recent weeks, at his disposal.

Cattermole has been plagued by injuries for much of his time on Wearside and has managed only two senior appearances since the end of November.

He had an injection in his injured knee several weeks ago in a bid to solve the problem once and for all, although O'Neill admitted at the time that an operation was a possibility.

Having visited his specialist again, the decision was taken to perform the surgery and write off the rest of the campaign.

Emma Spencer on Channel 4 horse racing

Racing is waiting to judge me, I can't wake up with a hangover, says C4's Spencer

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 29 December 2012

Emma Spencer will be staying responsibly sober on New Year’s Eve. For the next day, she is part of the newly assembled team that will be placed under the microscope as never before when Channel 4 assumes exclusive coverage of horse-racing on British television.

‘It won’t be good to wake up with a hang-over after going to bed at 5am,’ said Spencer.

‘We know the racing world will be watching to see how we do, so I will definitely be spending New Year’s Eve differently from the way I usually would.’

Lady in red: Emma Spencer will help front Channel 4's racing coverage

Lady in red: Emma Spencer will help front Channel 4's racing coverage

To some, it is still a shock that the BBC has abdicated its decades-long association with the sport of kings. Last week, Sir Peter O’Sullevan, for more than 40 years the most recognisable voice of BBC Sport as he called the major races from the Derby to the Grand National, suggested with undeniable irritation: ‘I can’t believe this will go down terribly well with the monarchy.’

Yet the reality is that the BBC had reduced its live coverage of racing to a mere 13 days this year. In 2013, Channel 4 will televise 88 days’ racing; but the new production company awarded the contract have purged many of the faces familiar to the channel’s existing audience.

From the Old Guard, out go: John McCririck and Derek Thompson, who publicly expressed their grievances at being axed, along with presenters Alastair Down and Mike Cattermole. In addition, John Francome opted to walk away, while Lesley Graham had already chosen a career change by accepting the job of chief executive of Racing Welfare.

In comes Clare Balding, a national treasure after her performances at the Olympic Games in the summer. She will be joined by former BBC colleagues Mick Fitzgerald and Rishi Persad, but there is no place for Willie Carson. Instead, Fitzgerald will provide the perspective of an ex-jockey, with Graham Cunningham recruited from Racing UK to be the team’s analyst.

‘Change always divides opinion,’ said Spencer, 34. ‘I grew up listening to Sir Peter and I have the highest respect for him as a broadcaster. I can see why traditionalists might be upset at first.’

Plush: Spencer shares a house with her brother

Plush: Spencer shares a house with her brother

However, from her knowledge of production meetings, Spencer is confident Channel 4 can win over the sceptics. She said: ‘There is going to be a smart purpose-built studio, with touch-screens and new graphics. I’m sure there are an abundance of fresh ideas that will be done to the best of everyone’s ability.’

As a broadcaster, Channel 4 have some form at breaking the mould; after all, they won unreserved plaudits, against all expectation, for their Test match cricket coverage. ‘I also think it will be good for the public to know that from now on all racing in this country can be found on the same channel,’ said Spencer, who survives from the former Channel 4 team along with commentator Simon Holt, Alice Plunkett, Jim McGrath and Tanya Stevenson.

Like Balding, Spencer is the daughter of a racehorse trainer; or in her case, two as both parents, Jack and Lynda Ramsden, held training licences at one time or another.

Even so, to her disappointment, Spencer’s credentials are often overlooked by gossip diarists who refer to her as the ‘glamour puss’ of Channel 4’s racing output.

‘I do take umbrage at that,’ she admitted. ‘There’s part of me that thinks: “Hold on, I’m a serious career woman”. Anyone who has worked with me knows how much homework I do. In spite of people thinking you’re a girl, and therefore don’t know much about racing, I probably have quite a good background to understand the sport.’

Twice, she has been champion amateur lady jockey. ‘I’d love to have Clare’s brain,’ she said with a chuckle. ‘She’s amazing. She does radio, TV, and can broadcast on sport, politics and culture. She’s had an unbelievable year, and while she has a racing background she is also recognised outside of racing. Clare is an asset to us.

‘But I’ve a similar background. I grew up in the racing world and have known her family for a long time. Her brother, Andrew, now training at the yard where his father, Toby, trained, was an assistant to my parents when they trained in Yorkshire.

‘I was riding from a young age and my father had strong opinions on how horses are ridden. When you’re brought up listening to that, it’s a massive help. I’ve ridden in a few hundred races and I’d like to think that makes me more than just a girl who knows a bit about racing.’

She was married to Jamie Spencer, whose rise to champion jockey saw them labelled the Posh and Becks of racing. They lived in a 1.75million home in Newmarket, and had three children.

But Jamie’s affair with Hayley Turner, the leading woman jockey, precipitated a breakdown in their marriage and led to Emma filing for divorce three years ago. For a time, she refused to interview Turner in her role as a reporter for Channel 4. That is no longer the case. ‘It’s history, isn’t it Life goes on,’ said Emma.

Line up: Channel 4 have taken over all racing coverage from the BBC

Line up: Channel 4 have taken over all racing coverage from the BBC

She and her ex-husband — whose romance with Turner fizzled out — have an amicable relationship and he saw their children over Christmas. ‘While it was difficult at the time of our break-up, we get on well,’ said Emma. ‘Over the past three years, dealing with divorce, the children starting school and having a career, you do have difficult days. Just as you overcome one problem with one of the children, the next one develops attitude! Luckily, I can see light at the end of the tunnel; and thanks to the help I have it’s very manageable.

‘Jamie lives a couple of miles away. His season is so demanding, but he sees the kids whenever he can. Even now, at the races, people think we’re still married, which was awkward for both of us at first when I had to interview him after a race. But Jamie has always been very professional.’

Since moving out of the marital home, Spencer and her children have moved into an even more sumptuous Newmarket property with seven bedrooms, an indoor pool and a cinema — all built around a courtyard featuring a fountain and sunken garden. It reportedly cost 2.95m but had been on the market some time earlier for 7m. The house was bought by her brother, Anthony Ramsden.

‘Anthony was living in London when I found the house, and when he came and saw it, he fell in love with it, too,’ she explained. ‘Now he has one side of the house and we have the other; we are like passing ships in the night.’

Spencer juggles being a single parent with a career in television. She has also found the time to freshen her wardrobe for the advent of Channel 4’s takeover of racing. ‘You don’t want to know how many pairs of shoes I have,’ she said. ‘I am a shopaholic! I have a lot of clothes, too, let’s leave it at that.’

More pertinently, Emma Spencer has been investing heavily in doing her homework, as she knows that on New Year’s Day the racing community will be placing Channel 4’s coverage under greater scrutiny than ever.

Martin O"Neill tells Sunderland players not to take Premier League spot for granted

Don't take top flight spot for granted, O'Neill tells Black Cats

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UPDATED:

22:37 GMT, 30 November 2012

Martin O'Neill has warmed up for his one-year anniversary as Sunderland boss by warning his players not to take their place in the Barclays Premier League for granted.

Twelve months ago this weekend, the Northern Irishman agreed to succeed Steve Bruce with the aim of turning around the fortunes of the club he supported as a boy.

But when Sunderland head to Norwich on Sunday, O’Neill knows his team could be in the bottom three — if both Aston Villa and Southampton win — after winning just two of their 13 League matches.

Vigilance: Martin O'Neill told his players not to take their Premier League place for granted

Vigilance: Martin O'Neill told his players not to take their Premier League place for granted

Such a run was the same as Bruce achieved at the start of last season and O’Neill thinks the club has to realise it can take time to become an established top-flight force.

‘It bothers me that you spend two or three years in the Premier League and suddenly you are a Premier League side,’ said O’Neill, who was forced to scotch rumours he had quit after the 4-2 loss to West Brom.

‘I had this conversation with the chairman at Stoke (Peter Coates) a few months ago. Never for one minute does he think Stoke are an established Premier League side. It is always a fight.

‘We need points on the board. But that is cheap talk, you have to go out and do it in every single game.’

O’Neill heads in to his anniversary without Lee Cattermole. The dressing-room leader is expected to be out until the new year with medial ligament damage in his knee.

And O’Neill, who suggested he is looking to add to his squad in January, added: ‘A year in charge Sometimes I feel like it has been three months and other times, of course, it seems as if it has been a decade.’

Blow: Lee Cattermole is out until the new year

Blow: Lee Cattermole is out until the new year

Fulham 1 Sunderland 3 – match report

Fulham 1 Sunderland 3: Black Cats punish 10-man hosts with second-half treble

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UPDATED:

17:52 GMT, 18 November 2012

Sunderland picked up their first win since late September as they threw off the shackles to down 10-man Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The Black Cats have been the division's most lacklustre in front of goal this season, but scored three times in 20 second-half minutes to punish their hosts.

Fulham captain Brede Hangeland was sent off in the first-half for a reckless lunge on opposite number Lee Cattermole, making anything other than a draw a big ask for Martin Jol's team.

And so it proved. Steven Fletcher grabbed the first five minutes after the break, but substitue Mladen Petric levelled things up seven minutes later from close range.

However, it was Sunderland who reacted the best, taking the lead through Carlos Cuellar, and adding a spectacular third through Stephane Sessegnon's first goal of the season.

More to follow…

On song: Sunderland ended a winless run dating back to September after Brede Hangeland was sent off

On song: Sunderland ended a winless run dating back to September after Brede Hangeland was sent off

On song: Sunderland ended a winless run dating back to September after Brede Hangeland was sent off

MATCH FACTS

FULHAM: Schwarzer, Riise, Hangeland, Hughes, Riether, Sidwell, Karagounis (Senderos 35), Duff, Kacaniklic (Rodallega 27), Berbatov, Ruiz (Petric 59). Subs not used: Stockdale, Kelly, Smith, Dejagah,

Booked: Sidwell

Sent off: Hangeland 31

Goal: Petric 62

SUNDERLAND: Mignolet, Bardsley, O'Shea, Cuellar, Rose, Cattermole, Larsson (McClean 70), Colback (Vaughan 79), Johnson, Sessegnon, Fletcher. Subs not used: Westwood, Kilgallon, McClean, Campbell, Wickham, Saha

Booked: O'Shea, Johnson

Goals: Fletcher 50, Cuellar 65, Sessegnon 70

Click here for the latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

XX

Classy: Steven Fletcher got the ball rolling with a brilliantly taken strike early in the second half

Classy: Steven Fletcher got the ball rolling with a brilliantly taken strike early in the second half

Classy: Steven Fletcher got the ball rolling with a brilliantly taken strike early in the second half

Back in it: Mladen Petric responded quickly for Fulham, and suffered a cut on his leg as a result

Back in it: Mladen Petric responded quickly for Fulham, and suffered a cut on his leg as a result

Back in it: Mladen Petric responded quickly for Fulham, and suffered a cut on his leg as a result

Back in it: Mladen Petric responded quickly for Fulham, and suffered a cut on his leg as a result

Fulham v Sunderland live

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Fulham v Sunderland – as it happens from Craven Cottage

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UPDATED:

15:58 GMT, 18 November 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Fulham host Sunderland at Craven Cottage for Sunday's only game of the day. Martin Jol's side have made a positive start to the season in contrast to the Black Cats, who sit outside the relegation zone only on goal difference. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Fulham v Sunderland (4pm)

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether,
Hangeland, Hughes, Riise, Duff, Sidwell, Karagounis, Kacaniklic, Ruiz,
Berbatov.
Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Senderos, Petric, Rodallega, Dejagah,
Smith.

Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley,
Cuellar, O'Shea, Rose, Johnson, Cattermole, Colback, Larsson, Sessegnon,
Fletcher.
Subs: Westwood, Campbell, Wickham, Kilgallon, Vaughan,
McClean, Saha.

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

Click here for the live Premier League table

15.56: As the sun sets and the mercury begins to drop in west London the teams make their way out.

15.52: One final piece of reading before the game and it comes from Sportsmail's Charles Sale who has touched on Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed's opposition against the Financial Fair Play rules. Check it out here.

15.47: From InfostradaLive:

Sunderland have scored seven goals after 10 PL matches this season. They have only netted less at this stage in a PL season in 2002-03, when they had scored four. They finished that season last and were relegated, scoring only 21 goals in the whole season.

Sunderland’s seven league goals scored this season is also less than any other team in all four tiers of English league football this season.

15.44: The full line-ups from Craven Cottage:

Fulham v Sunderland
Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise, Duff, Sidwell, Karagounis, Kacaniklic, Ruiz, Berbatov. Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Senderos, Petric, Rodallega, Dejagah, Smith.

Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley, Cuellar, O'Shea, Rose, Johnson, Cattermole, Colback, Larsson, Sessegnon, Fletcher. Subs: Westwood, Campbell, Wickham, Kilgallon, Vaughan, McClean, Saha.

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

15.39: Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill spoke to Sky Sports before the game:

'Cattermole's return is a big boost for us, he was playing well before getting injured.

James McClean is a big part of the squad, some players have played a lot of football but it’s just a case of taking him out and look at it from there, but he was fantastic last season and he can be so again.

'We get forward in reasonable numbers but we have struggled to create clear cut chances. We could’ve been 3-0 up at Everton at half-time so I’m hoping we can take confidence from that game into today.

15.34: With just under half-an-hour until kick-off I'm going to go off on a slight tangent and recommend you read Gary Neville's latest column for the Mail on Sunday.

The former Manchester United defender this week has commented on how Cristiano Ronaldo has redefined football. How Martin O'Neill could do with the Portuguese' creative spark right now.

Trusted: Giorgos Karagounis (right) makes his first start for Fulham

Trusted: Giorgos Karagounis (right) makes his first start for Fulham

15.29: You didn't read that incorrectly by the way. Only Manchester City and Stoke have conceded fewer than Sunderland's 11 so far this season.

It seems bizarre to think the Black Cats are a point in front of Southampton who have let in nearly three times the amount of goals.

15.26: The good thing for Fulham (and many neutrals) is that Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz start in attack again.

The pair have formed a promising front pair at Craven Cottage so I look forward to seeing how they gel against one of the Premier League's tightest defences.

15.21: Fulham boss Martin Jol hands Giorgos Karagounis his first start for the club for the Barclays Premier League visit of Sunderland.

The 35-year-old Greece midfielder replaced the suspended Chris Baird with Damien Duff coming in for the injured Kieran Richardson and Alex Kacaniklic demoting Ashkan Dejagah to the bench.

Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole is passed fit following a knee injury and replaces James McClean in Martin O'Neill's starting line-up.

While Phil Bardsley recovers from a hamstring injury in time to step in for the suspended Craig Gardner at right-back.

15.16: Part of Sunderland's recent troubles have been down to Steven Fletcher suddenly drifting out of form.

Adam Johnson became the first Black Cats player to score a league goal other than the Scot (and own goals) in the defeat at Everton last week. But Fletcher hasn't scored since September.

15.11: Fulham starting XI:

Schwarzer, Riether, Riise, Hangeland, Hughes, Sidwell, Karagounis, Kacaniklic, Duff, Ruiz, Berbatov.

15.06: Sunderland starting XI:

Mignolet, Bardsley, Rose, Cuellar, O'Shea, Cattermole, Colback, Larsson, Johnson, Sessegnon, Fletcher.

15.03: Only both the Manchester clubs have scored more than Fulham who have seen 16 goals in their last three league games.

We'll ignore the fact that Sunderland games by contrast have only seen 18 goals over the entire course of the season so far.

15.00: I know what you're thinking and yes this wouldn't have been a fixture that would have sprung to my mind when deciding an exclusive match for Sunday.

But stick with this folks as Fulham have delivered a few blockbusters this season while Sunderland are in slight danger of being dragged into a relegation fight. Team news as ever is on the way.

Taking centre stage: Fulham host Sunderland in Sunday's only Premier League game

Taking centre stage: Fulham host Sunderland in Sunday's only Premier League game

Sunderland 0 Aston Villa 1: Match report

Sunderland 0 Aston Villa 1: Agbonlahor ends drought to hand Lambert timely boost

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UPDATED:

17:15 GMT, 3 November 2012

Gabriel Agbonlahor's first Barclays Premier League goal of the season was enough to see off shot-shy Sunderland as Aston Villa ruined former boss Martin O'Neill's day.

The striker fired home from close range 12 minutes after the break to claim just a second league victory of the season for the midlanders on an afternoon when the Black Cats mustered only a single notable effort on target, and that six minutes from time.

It was no more than Villa, who headed north without former Sunderland striker Darren Bent, deserved after turning in a display which belied their lowly position with striker Christian Benteke bullying the home defence and Barry Bannan enjoying plenty of space in midfield.

Winner: Gabriel Agbonlahor scores the only goal of the game as Aston Villa beat Sunderland

Winner: Gabriel Agbonlahor scores the only goal of the game as Aston Villa beat Sunderland

Match facts

Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley (Campbell 81), O'Shea, Cuellar, Colback, Larsson, Cattermole, Gardner (McClean 67), Johnson, Fletcher, Sessegnon (Saha 67).

Subs not used: Westwood, Rose, Kilgallon, Vaughan.

Booked: Bardsley, Fletcher

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett, (Lichaj 11 (Stevens 71)) Weimann (Holman 85), Ireland, Westwood, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Benteke.

Subs not used: Given, Albrighton, Delph, Bowery

Booked: Clark, Lichajm Benteke

Goal: Agbonlahor 67

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

Latest Premier League table and results

But where the visitors were dynamic, their hosts once again laboured with dangerman Steven Fletcher effectively shackled as Adam Johnson, Sebastian Larsson and Stephane Sessegnon failed to provide meaningful service for long periods.

The response from the locals among a crowd of 41,515 on the final whistle was predictable with O'Neill's men having now won just one of their last 17 league games.

Those who turned up at the Stadium of Light did so hardly expecting a classic with neither side going into the game with any great confidence.

Sunderland's midweek Capital One Cup exit at the hands of npower Championship Middlesbrough provided further ammunition for those unhappy with a toothless run of form in the league, while Villa's paltry return of just six points before kick-off told its own story.

But it was the visitors who enjoyed the better of an opening 45 minutes which did little to disabuse the spectators of their misgivings.

The Black Cats had the ball in the net after just five minutes when Fletcher, the only Sunderland player to have scored a league goal so far this season, lifted the ball over the advancing Brad Guzan from Sessegnon's through-ball, although he did so from an offside position.

But from that point onwards, the visitors settled and largely dominated possession with Bannan and Ashley Westwood making the most of the space they were afforded in the middle of the field to bring the pacy Agbonlahor and the combative Benteke into play.

Eyes on the ball: Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon and Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood battle for the ball

Eyes on the ball: Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon and Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood battle for the ball

The Belgium international headed a 13th minute Bannan corner over and then looped another into compatriot Simon Mignolet's hands nine minutes later.

In the meantime, Mignolet was well protected by full-back Phil Bardsley, who dived in to block Agbonlahor's 18th minute shot after Benteke had headed down substitute Eric Lichaj's cross.

The home side had gone into the game having mustered only 12 efforts on target all season, and they could not improve on that damning statistic as Craig Gardner dragged a 24th minute effort wide and Ciaran Clark blocked Sessegnon's shot after the Benin international had exchanged passes with Johnson.

Chance: Sunderland's Louis Saha heads wide as the home side fall to defeat

Chance: Sunderland's Louis Saha heads wide as the home side fall to defeat

However, they might have taken the lead on the half hour when Sessegnon picked out Johnson wide on the right and he pulled the ball back for Lee Cattermole to curl a shot just over with keeper Guzan rooted to the spot.

Mignolet had to get down well at his near post to turn away Andreas Weimann's 38th minute strike, but Larsson might have done better a minute before the break when he fired across the face of goal from a promising position.

Even Fletcher was unable to trouble Guzan when, three minutes after the restart, he turned neatly and made his way to goal before slicing a 30-yard effort well wide.

Gutted: Saha is stunned after failing to hit the target with his header

Gutted: Saha is stunned after failing to hit the target with his header

There was at least a greater sense of urgency from Sunderland as the second half unfolded, and Larsson headed over after reacting smartly when Guzan only just got his fingertips to Bardsley's 53rd minute cross.

But it was Villa who took the lead four minutes later as Benteke once again climbed high above Bardsley at the far post to knock down Matt Lowton's right wing cross into the six-yard box and Agbonlahor pounced ahead of Carlos Cuellar to volley into the roof of the net.

O'Neill looked to inject fresh impetus into his team when he sent on James McClean and Louis Saha for Gardner and Sessegnon with 23 minutes remaining, and the Frenchman went close within six minutes wen he got to Larsson's free-kick ahead of Guzan, but headed just over the crossbar.

Tussle: Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson and Aston Villa's Eric Lichaj fight for the ball

Tussle: Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson and Aston Villa's Eric Lichaj fight for the ball

However, Mignolet kept the Black Cats in the game with a 76th minute save from Weimann after Stephen Ireland had found space on the right to set him up.

Cattermole came close to snatching a point when he took aim from distance with 84 minutes gone, but Guzan, who was initially wrong-footed, saved at the second attempt to ensure his side left Wearside with the points despite substitute Fraizer Campbell heading just wide in injury time.

Happy days: Villa celebrate their narrow win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light

Happy days: Villa celebrate their narrow win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light

Sunderland"s Lee Cattermole signs deal until 2016

Captain Cattermole commits future to Sunderland with new four-year deal

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UPDATED:

09:39 GMT, 29 October 2012

Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole has signed a new three-and-a-half year deal.

The 24-year-old midfielder, who was due to be out of contract at the end of this season, has agreed a deal until 2016.

Cattermole returned to the Sunderland side on Saturday after serving his latest three-match ban for a sending off in the Capital One Cup at MK Dons.

Captain careful Lee Cattermole has signed a new deal at Sunderland

Captain careful Lee Cattermole has signed a new deal at Sunderland

He will play against his former club Middlesbrough on Tuesday night in the same competition.

Cattermole joined Sunderland from Wigan three years ago and was given the armband by Steve Bruce in 2010.

Despite his latest indiscretion, the
former England Under 21 international has kept the captaincy under
Martin O'Neill, who has negotiated and rubber-stamped his latest deal.

Cattermole said: 'I'm absolutely delighted. It feels like it's taken a bit of time
but the gaffer made it clear to me at the end of the season that he
wanted to keep me at the club so it took a bit of time but I'm glad it's
been sorted in the end.

'If you look at our signings in the
summer I think you can see that we have made some big signings and I
think it's the best place for me at the minute.'

Sunderland and Reading to play re-arranged fixture in December

Sunderland and Reading forced to wait until December to play rained off game

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UPDATED:

21:42 GMT, 27 September 2012

Sunderland and Reading are being forced to play their re-arranged Premier League game in December due to UEFA regulations which forbid top flight matches being played in the same week as scheduled Champions League and Europa League clashes.

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has called for the Premier League to support both clubs' push for their postponed August league game to be switched to October to avoid a major fixture backlog in December.

At present all Premier League club will play six league games, including three in a week between December 22 and 29, which in Sunderland's case is followed by the visit to Liverpool on New Year's Day while Reading travel to Tottenham.

Rainy day: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill and Reading manager Brian McDermott during a pitch inspection at the Stadium of Light

Rainy day: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill and Reading manager Brian McDermott during a pitch inspection at the Stadium of Light

Sunderland and Reading have been in talks to reschedule this season's first home game at the Stadium of Light which was postponed just hours before kick-off due to a waterlogged pitch.

But their plans to move the game to next month have been blocked by UEFA regulations and they are limited with alternative dates because the UEFA calendar now takes up 21 days in the season. When the Premier League started the figure was 13.

They are now hoping the Premier League will back plans to play the game in a UEFA week, just as the Merseyside derby was given special dispensation last season.

Off you go: Lee Cattermole is sent off against MK Dons

Off you go: Lee Cattermole is sent off against MK Dons

Sunderland are also keen to play the game before the Tyne-Wear derby on October 21 which would allow captain Lee Cattermole to play against Newcastle United.

O'Neill said: 'There have been discussions between the two clubs and the Premier League but we can't play games in a European week which means the only time then would be December where there is only 58 games in 31 days.

'It is absolutely extraordinarily and it would be really crazy and ludicrous to move it to December and the worst possible outcome when we are already overloaded. It would not be fair on the players in particular, particularly when they are always talking about injuries due to the amount of games.'

Not happy: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill wants to talk to Cattermole about his disciplinary record

Not happy: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill wants to talk to Cattermole about his disciplinary record

Cattermole starts a three-match ban this week following his sending off against MK Dons in midweek and although O'Neill is still unhappy with his skipper's fifth red card in a Sunderland shirt he says he will keep the captain's armband once John O'Shea has worn it in his absence.

O'Neill still intends to discuss Cattermole's appalling disciplinary record with his captain and says he must now start to improve to make life more difficult for referees who are perhaps quick to single him out.

He said: 'On the positive side he is really sorry about it but so am I. Whether you are captain or not you need some sort of discipline about you and it becomes an issue because of the number of times he has been sent off.

'He has to think about it and stop lunging in and there are different ways in this game to tackle and he is capable of doing it but I have said that before and obviously I have been wrong.' O'Neill added: `If I have decision to make on the captaincy, I do have time to think about it. Ok. I have thought about it. He is still the captain.'

Outnumbered: The worrying statistics that continue to haunt English football

Outnumbered: The worrying statistics that cast a shadow over English football

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UPDATED:

09:47 GMT, 7 September 2012

Digest the numbers from the Barclays Premier League teams in action last weekend and the fears voiced by Roy Hodgson as he embarked on the Road to Rio come with a little extra resonance.

Of 209 players who started for the 19 Premier League teams in action – including Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup – only 66, that’s slightly more than 30 per cent, were available to the England manager, who assembled his squad this week to prepare for the opening World Cup 2014 qualifier in Moldova on Friday.

‘There will be quite a few times I have to select players this year who won’t be in their team,’ said Hodgson, last month. ‘That’s a risk but it’s the nature of the Premier League.’

Stat's amazing: Only 66 England players started last weekend in the Premier League

Stat's amazing: Only 66 England players started last weekend in the Premier League

ENGLISH PLAYERS STARTING IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE LAST WEEKEND

NORWICH 6: Ruddy, Barnett, Johnson, Howson, Pilkington*, Holt.

SOUTHAMPTON 6: Davis, Clyne, Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Puncheon, Lambert.

QPR 5: Green, Ferdinand, Wright-Phillips, Zamora, Johnson.

STOKE 5: Wilkinson, Shawcross, Whitehead, Kightly, Crouch.

EVERTON 4: Neville, Jagielka, Baines, Osman.

MAN UNITED 4: Ferdinand, Carrick, Cleverley, Welbeck.

SUNDERLAND 4: Gardner, Colback, A Johnson, Cattermole.

SWANSEA 4: Dyer, Britton, Routledge, Graham.

TOTTENHAM 4: Walker, Lennon, Livermore, Defoe.

WEST HAM 4: Nolan, Carroll, Taylor, Noble.

ARSENAL 3: Jenkinson, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain.

CHELSEA 3: Cole, Cahill, Lampard.

LIVERPOOL 3: G.Johnson, Gerrard, Sterling.

MAN CITY 3: Hart, Lescott, Rodwell.

ASTON VILLA 2: Lowton, Bent.

FULHAM 2: Sidwell, Richardson.

NEWCASTLE 2: Simpson, Taylor.

WEST BROM 2: Foster, Ridgewell.

WIGAN 0.

*Republic of Ireland want Pilkington but he has yet to commit his future

His worst fears seem to be unfolding and problems will only deepen when players return to their clubs after this international break and find new signings, bought on deadline or near the end of the transfer window are eligible, more settled and ready to compete for a place.

The health and wealth of the Premier League is trouble for Hodgson while other international coaches like Italy’s Cesare Prandelli are enjoying the austerity gripping their domestic game.

Ten Italian players started for AC Milan last weekend, the most in 17 years for the Rossoneri, shorn of foreign stars Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva after a summer when they made a 40millon profit on transfers.

‘I remember watching the Super Cup between Inter and Roma two years ago when there was a total of four Italian starters,’ said Prandelli. ‘This year there were many more. I’m not sure if the change is due purely to economic reasons, but the clubs are developing more young players and that’s definitely an advantage to the national team.

‘When you’re in a crisis you need to find new options, be innovative and take some risks. Managers are going to feel like they need to do something extra this season. They don’t have the big stars available anymore.’

Of the 110million spent by English
clubs on deadline day, most of it drained overseas. Only Joey Barton of
note went in the opposite direction, on loan to Marseille.

Fringe players: Daniel Sturridge (left) and Danny Welbeck (right)

Fringe players: Daniel Sturridge (left) and Danny Welbeck (right)

Javi Garcia, signed by Manchester City for 18million from Benfica will probably come into midfield at the expense of Jack Rodwell.

No team started with more English players than Southampton last weekend and their prolific academy will ensure home-grown continue to push for recognition but Saints also spent a club-record 11m on Uruguayan international Gaston Ramirez on Friday.

Clint Dempsey will be available for Spurs after the international break to threaten Aaron Lennon’s place and Christian Benteke, Aston Villa’s 7million Belgian striker from Genk, will put pressure on Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor.

English centre-forwards are under already feeling the heat. Hodgson could not find one he liked enough to call up when Andy Carroll pulled out of the squad with a hamstring injury.

It suggests the international future is
bleak for Bent, Bobby Zamora and Peter Crouch, while Jermain Defoe,
Daniel Sturridge and Daniel Welbeck are not guaranteed starters at their
clubs.

In goal, international trio Joe Hart,
John Ruddy and Robert Green all started last weekend, although Green’s
place at QPR will come under threat from Julio Cesar, the Brazilian
signed from Inter Milan.

Sidelined: Rodwell is likely to lose his place in the Man City team

Sidelined: Rodwell is likely to lose his place in the Man City team

Ben Foster played for West Brom but does not want to play for England and the only other English ‘keeper was Kelvin Davis, who performed well for Southampton despite being beaten by three Robin van Persie goals.

Other England players have been victims of taste following managerial changes in the summers, including Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone and Jordan Henderson.

As ever, there were absent injured players. Wayne Rooney, Jack Wilshere, Gareth Barry, Micah Richards, Scott Parker and Ashley Young are all of the requisite quality to compete in the top flight.

John Terry missed Friday’s Super Cup because of suspension, there are established players like James Milner and Theo Walcott but the problem lies not in the details.

Terry would most likely come in for Gary Cahill, Walcott for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Young or Rooney for Danny Welbeck.

It is the trend – well-established
but showing no hint of reverse – which concerns England and will perhaps
at some point force Hodgson to scout Championship teams more
thoroughly.

Plenty to ponder: Hodgson may have to start scouring the Championship before too long

Plenty to ponder: Hodgson may have to start scouring the Championship before too long

HOME NATIONALITY STARTING LAST WEEKEND

La Liga 64.3%
Ligue 1 62.7%
Serie A 52.1%
Bundesliga 45.0%
Premier League 31.6%

Clubs do invest in home-grown talent. Many are pouring millions into their academies right now to prepare them for Category One status as set out in the Elite Player Performance Plan.

Stoke and Sunderland spent heavily on British players during the summer. Norwich used 12 players at White Hart Lane on Saturday, nine of which were British.

Brendan Rodgers has shown faith in Raheem Sterling and Jonjo Shelvey. City bought Rodwell and Scott Sinclair but here lies another twist inside the greater puzzle for Hodgson because the most promising young players became prized by the biggest clubs.

They help maximise the 25-man squad rules and add value in terms of identity but their chances of playing diminish and development slows.

It is happening elsewhere. The elite talent pool is under threat in Germany, the envy of many with a system which has generated highly-technical young players like Mesut Ozil and Mario Gotze.

The percentage of home-grown players on display in the Bundesliga was less than 45 per cent last weekend, far behind the proportions in Spain and France. Yet, still, nowhere near as low as in the Premier League.

Swansea 2 Sunderland 2: Michu fires again after Steven Fletcher double

Swansea 2 Sunderland 2: Michu on target again after Fletcher fires quickfire double

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UPDATED:

16:32 GMT, 1 September 2012

Steven Fletcher's first goals for Sunderland ended Swansea's 100 per cent start to the Premier League season in a dramatic Liberty Stadium encounter marred by a serious ankle injury to Neil Taylor.

Fletcher started to repay his big-money fee following his move from Wolves as he struck twice in the first half, either side of Wayne Routledge's effort for Swansea.

Michu scored his fourth goal in three games for the hosts to level matters, but they then lost defender Chico Flores to a red card for a wild high challenge as the game ended all square.

Making an impact: Michu (third right) outjumps the Sunderland defence to nod home the equlaiser

Making an impact: Michu (third right) outjumps the Sunderland defence to nod home the equlaiser

Match facts

Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Williams, Chico, Taylor (Davies 20), Dyer, Britton, De Guzman, Routledge (Tate 73), Michu (Ki 78), Graham. Subs not used: Tremmel, Shechter, Moore, Agustien.

Booked: Williams.

Sent off: Chico.

Scorer: Routledge 45, Michu 66.

Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, Cuellar, O'Shea, Colback, Johnson, Larsson, Cattermole (Meyler 38), McClean, Sessegnon (Campbell 84), Fletcher (Saha 67). Subs not used: Westwood, Kilgallon, Ji, Bramble.

Booked: Gardner.

Scorers: Fletcher 40, 45.

Referee: Roger East.

But prior to all that action, Taylor
had already been carted off on a stretcher after his leg buckled
awkwardly under him following a challenge with Craig Gardner.

The incident could barely have come at a worse time for Swans boss Michael Laudrup, just a day after the transfer window closed.

Buoyed by their excellent recent form
Swansea had started with purpose, and Routledge had a penalty appeal
turned away while Dyer had a shot saved by Simon Mignolet.

But they were dealt a terrible blow by Taylor's injury after 16 minutes.

The Team GB left-back required prolonged treatment and was given oxygen as he received treatment on his ankle.

The home crowd were furious that
Gardner was not punished over the incident by referee Roger East, making
his Premier League debut, but there appeared to be no malice from the
Sunderland player.

Off the mark: Steven Fletcher beats the outstretched hand of Swansea keeper Michel Vorm to hit the opener

Off the mark: Steven Fletcher beats the outstretched hand of Swansea keeper Michel Vorm to hit the opener

John O'Shea did little to help matters by choosing to try to put his viewpoint across to spectators near the incident.

The atmosphere was muted following
Taylor's departure although the hosts continued to press, with Dyer
again being denied by Mignolet.

Swansea had benefited from defensive
errors in their wins over QPR and West Ham, but they were hurt by a
mistake of their own five minutes before the break.

Flashpoint: Neil Taylor collides with Sunderland's Craig Gardner, with the challenge leaving the Swansea left back requiring treatment on the pitch for a serious-looking ankle injury before being stretched off

Flashpoint: Neil Taylor collides with Sunderland's Craig Gardner, with the challenge leaving the Swansea left back requiring treatment on the pitch for a serious-looking ankle injury before being stretched off

Concern: Taylor received treatment on the pitch before being stretchered off

Concern: Taylor received treatment on the pitch before being stretchered off

Ashley Williams' stubbed his back
pass into the ground and Fletcher ran in on goal to despatch a superb
low finish beyond Michel Vorm.

Swansea levelled as six minutes of
stoppage time began. Dyer and Routledge, who have started the campaign
brilliantly, linked again as the former's scooped pass allowed the
latter to flash home a volley.

But parity did not last to the
interval as Sebastian Larsson's free-kick evaded everyone apart from
Fletcher, who tapped home at the back post to give the visitors the
half-time lead.

Mignolet pushed away a Dyer volley
after more excellent build up play from the hosts, while Leon Britton
volleyed over from a rehearsed corner routine shortly after the break.

Level pegging: Wayne Routledge briefly hit the home side level just before half-time

Level pegging: Wayne Routledge briefly hit the home side level just before half-time

The ill-feeling between the sides had
been bubbling under the surface since Taylor's injury, but Sunderland
boss Martin O'Neill was apoplectic when Flores escaped punishment for a
studs-up lunge on James McClean with the home side then ignoring the
stricken player by carrying on despite the Wearsiders urging them to put
the ball out.

Mignolet did brilliantly to get down
to a Jonathan de Guzman free-kick moments later after Gardner, already
on a booking for a first-half tackle on Routledge, fouled Danny Graham.

Michu came close to adding to his tally as his header into the ground from De Guzman's cross bounced up and just over the bar.

New addition: Swansea's record signing Pablo Hernandez was unveiled prior to kick-off

New addition: Swansea's record signing Pablo Hernandez was unveiled prior to kick-off

But the same combination found the
leveller on 66 minutes, De Guzman's delivery was again pinpoint and
Michu's powerful header gave Mignolet no chance.

Swansea's comeback efforts were
stymied when Flores then saw red for a wild high-footed challenge that
grazed substitute Louis Saha's head.

Despite the numerical disadvantage
Swansea dominated the final 18 minutes, but could not find the winner
that would have taken them top of the Premier League.