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Jan Kirchoff vows to improve his match fitness

Jan Kirchoff has struggled with injuries and fitness in pre-season, but vows to prove he is fit enough to play a full 90 minutes for the Black Cats.

Since his arrival in January from German giants Bayern Munich for a bargain fee of £750,000, Jan Kirchoff played a massive part in keeping Sunderland from dropping down to the second tier of English football.

Injury concerns

Despite some magnificent performances that made him a fan favourite on Wearside, the one major concern for the Black Cats was the German struggling to see out every match he was involved in. Former boss Sam Allardyce regularly brought the player off around the 70 minute mark in fear of him picking up any injury or burning himself out for the remainder of last season’s tough run in.

JS82482058 A familiar sight for Sunderland fans as Kirchoff struggled to see out the full 90 minutes. (Image Source: Getty Images)

A firm belief in his fitness

Despite the 25-year-old failing to play a great part in pre-season, Kirchoff still firmly believes his fitness levels will match that of the rest of the current squad ahead of the new Premier League season. In an interview with the Sunderland Echo, Kirchoff discussed his current fitness situation. “I feel comfortable to be healthy enough to stay on the pitch and go for a whole season, that won’t be the problem,” Kirchoff said.

He also added: “Fitness is something you can improve always which helps to make your game easier, and that wasn’t the case last year. It was what I struggled with a little bit.”

Kirchoff played arguably his best game in March, in the 1-1 draw away to local rivals Newcastle United. His eye for a through ball, willingness to break up play and ability to ignite attacks became apparent and made him an instant hit with the Sunderland faithful.

Injury worries for the opening game

As well as Kirchoff, Jermain Defoe and Billy Jones picked up pre-season injuries, but assistant manager Paul Bracewell believes the trio will return to training ahead of Saturday’s game against Manchester City.

A new era

The first game against the Citizans will see new manager David Moyes take charge of his first competitive match as Sunderland boss, and Kirchoff highlighted some small differences between his new boss and Allardyce, the man who brought him to the Stadium of Light. “All of us can understand Big Sam for his decision that he wanted to go for the job, nobody can blame him for that, we had a good time with him but we have to accept it. It is okay for us, and we have got a good choice from the club with the new manager.”

Dijon-FCO-v-Sunderland-Pre-Season-Friendly (2).jpg A brand new era for Sunderland fans with David Moyes taking charge of his first competitive game on Saturday evening. (Image Source: Mirror)

Kirchoff has been tipped to start on Saturday, pending match fitness, alongside Lee Cattermole, with the return of last year’s loanee Yann M’vila still not complete.

With Lamine Kone likely to leave Sunderland, what does it mean for the Black Cats?

It is becoming increasingly likely that Sunderland’s Lamine Kone will leave the Black Cats to join Everton, but what does it mean for Sunderland?

Since joining Sunderland for a fee of around £5million in January, Lamine Kone has been a rock in the heart of the Black Cats defence. His partnership alongside the experienced Younes Kaboul has seen the pair flourish, putting on several outstanding displays at the end of last season. Kone played his part in the game against Everton at the Stadium of Light, scoring two goals that kept his team safe from relegation.

With the new Premier League season beginning in less than five days, Kone has now been linked with a move to Everton. Black Cats fans are in dismay at the news of the player’s possible departure and are crying out for the club to give the centre-back a new and improved contract to secure his services for seasons to come.

37046B0B00000578-3730368-image-m-90_1470695852136 Kone was pictured with an Everton fan yesterday after arriving on Merseyside for talks with the Toffees. (Image source: Daily Mail)

Lack of ambition?

Fans are questioning chairman Ellis Short’s ambition to move Sunderland forward and whether or not he wants anything more than to remain as the team who just beat relegation each year. The arrival of David Moyes gave the city of Sunderland a real lift, but rumours are now circulating that the club’s finances are in a poor state. The question on fan’s lips is; where has last season’s TV money gone? Many say the club has cleared debt with the intake and many wonder whether or not Short has the purse strings tied shut. The clear out of fringe players including Steven Fletcher, Danny Graham and Emanuele Giaccherini, all on big wages, makes it hard to believe that the Black Cats wouldn’t have the money to offer Lamine Kone an improved contract. The 27-year-old seems to be reasonably happy on Wearside, always vocal and interacting with fans on social media, and his departure would leave a sour taste in the mouths of Black Cats supporters.

JS72032591 Ellis Short pictured. (Image source: The Chronicle)

Kone replacements?

Manchester United youngsters Paddy McNair and Donald Love have both been heavily linked to become Moyes’ second and third signings of the window, but the lack of experience in the pair would suggest they couldn’t go straight into the first team. McNair has more experience between the two and fans seem open to him coming to Sunderland, but Love lacks experience in the Premier League, making just seven appearances for Manchester United. The Black Cats’ only signing of the summer is Papy Djilobodji who signed last weekend and is the likely candidate to start the season alongside Younes Kaboul if Kone does depart.

paddy-patrick-mcnair-manchester-united-football_3212148Paddy McNair has worked with Moyes previously when the Scot managed Manchester United. (Image source: Sky Sports)

 Important to get off to a good start

The importance of starting the new campaign well has previously been highlighted by Sam Allardyce before he left to become England manager, and the unrest within the Sunderland camp this week can only be a hindrance to picking up as many points as possible from their opening games.

If the Black Cats and their chairman want to show some ambition for their fans, the club will stand as firm as possible to keep Kone, as well as making other signings in significant area’s before the end of the transfer window at the end of August.

Sunderland 1-1 Dortmund: Black Cats remain unbeaten in final pre-season game

David Moyes’ side remained unbeaten in their final Premier League preparations after a 1-1 draw with German giants

Nuri Sahin opened the scoring after a drilled shot crept below Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone. Jermain Lens’ set piece set up Lamine Kone to head home and level proceedings.

It was all Dortmund in the first 45 minutes, with opportunities from Ousmane Dembele and Sebastian Rode, but the goal from Şahin in the 17th minute proved the difference.

hi-res-d0fffdb2107577c6df22b9e5e8fb3021_crop_north Mario Gotze takes on Lamine Kone at the Cashpoint arena. (BleacherReport)

The Black Cats did improve in the second period with Duncan Watmore coming close before Kone equalised, securing the Black Cats unbeaten status in pre-season.

David Moyes’ side travel to the Etihad stadium in Saturday’s late kick off against Premier League title favourites Manchester City.

Sunderland sign Papy Djilobodji

Sunderland finally make their first signing of the summer transfer window, sealing the services of Papy Djilobodji

David Moyes makes Sunderland’s first signing of the window, much to the delight of Black Cats fans. The Sunderland faithful may not have a lot of knowledge on the playeer, so here is nine facts to get to know Papy.

Papy Djilobodji.JPG Welcome Papy! (Image source: Sunderland Echo)

  • Born December 1, 1988, Djilobodji is a Senegalese footballer who was raised in Kaolack, Senegal.
  • Papy plays Centre back but has been known to also fill in as a defensive midfielder.
  • Djilobodji began his career in 2007 at Senegalese side ASC Saloum before moving to French club US Senart-Moissy two-years later.
  • After leaving Senart-Moissy in 2010, he made 171 appearances for Ligue 1 outfit FC Nantes, scoring nine times.
  • A move to England followed ahead of the 2015-16 Premier League season as Chelsea secured his services.
  • The 27-year-old was then loaned to German side Werder Bremen in the second half of last season and made 14 appearances, scoring once. While at Bremen, Djiolobodji played an integral part in helping them secure their Bundesliga safety, as his one and only goal came as an 88th minute winner on the final day of the season to secure their survival.
  • With international recognition as well, Djilobodji has been capped 13 times by Senegal and also appeared at the 2015 African Cup of Nations.
  • At 193cms tall, the 27-year-old is Sunderland’s joint-second tallest player with Younes Kaboul. The pair stand just below Jan Kirchhoff who is 195cms tall.
  • Djilobodji is a powerful defender and while he is predominately a left-footed player, he is accomplished using his right as well.

Sunderland fans will be hopeful that Djilobodji is not the replacement for Lamine Kone, who has been strongly linked with a move away to Everton for £18million. Kone and Kaboul formed a solid partnership in the second half of last season and the departure of Kone would be a shame for the club.

Fans will also be eager for the club to sign more players, in particular the return of Yann M’vila and Deandre Yedlin. The summer transfer window does not shut until the end of August, but David Moyes will be keen to get signings through the door to give his team the best chance of the best possible start to the season.

Sunderland vs Borussia Dortmund Preview: Final preparations ahead of new season for Black Cats

David Moyes’ side play the German giants on Friday evening in their final game of pre-season.

Sunderland will play their final game of pre-season on Friday evening against Borussia Dortmund.

David Moyes’ side remain unbeaten in their Premier League preparations, but will have to be at their best to remain that way against the German giants.

Pre-season form

Dortmund have played six games, winning four and losing two, but have done arguably some of the best business across the European leagues this summer.

The Germans have brought in Andre Schürrle, Mario Götze and Ousmane Dembele to name a few.

Manchester City were Dortmund’s most recent pre-season opponents, drawing 1-1, but they ended the game losing 6-5 on penalties to the Black Cats’ first opponents of the new campaign.

Borussia-Dortmund-v-Manchester-City-International-Champions-Cup Borussia Dortmund in their most recent pre-season game against Manchester City. (Image source: Mirror)

Sunderland have been in impressive form ahead of their new season, winning four and drawing last time out against Montpellier.

The Black Cats are still yet to sign a player, but have been unable to do so with the problems surrounding their manager. David Moyes will look to sign players before the close of the summer window, or ideally before August 13. The Scotsman declared in his first press conference since joining the club that he is working with the board to bring in new faces as soon as possible.

Team news

Jermain Defoe is likely to miss out on Friday’s game, but Patrick van Aanholt and Billy Jones are likely to recover from knocks to start.

Sunderland fans may begin to get an idea of the side Moyes wishes to start against Manchester City and the type of formation he may start with.

The Black Cats’ youngsters have been featuring regularly in pre-season and could feature again Friday evening. Moyes has always been a big fan of youth development and demonstrated this in his time at Everton when he brought current Sunderland midfielder Jack Rodwell through into the Toffees first team at 16-years-old.

Former Sunderland transfer target Neven Subotic is set to miss the remainder of 2016 so will not feature for BVB. The Serbian was linked to the Black Cats as well as their newly promoted rivals, Middlesbrough.

Marco Reus is also likely to miss the game with the same injury that kept him out of Euro 2016. Sven Bender and Matthias Ginter are also unavailable, with the pair representing Germany at the Olympics.

David Moyes says Jack Rodwell should have stayed at Everton

New Sunderland boss David Moyes is pleased to reunite with Jack Rodwell, but says he should have never moved to Manchester City from his old club Everton.

David Moyes and Jack Rodwell recently reunited after the Scot was appointed new Sunderland boss just over a week ago. Moyes hopes the midfielder will fulfil his potential he demonstrated as a teenager.

Rodwell made his Premier League debut at just 16-years-old for Everton and was seen to be a future star at Goodison Park, but since his move to Manchester City in 2012 his career has slowly deteriorated. He joined Sunderland hoping to revive his career, but the £10 million man has been hampered by injuries during his two years at the Stadium of Light.

A good chance of reviving his career

The Scotsman will become the fourth manager to attempt to turn the 25-year-old’s career around, but will have the best chance of doing so with the pair knowing each other so well.

David-Moyes-Jack-Rodwell-603102 Jack Rodwell playing under David Moyes at Everton. (Image source: Express)

In an interview with the Sunderland Echo, the 53-year-old said: “He’s never really found a level of consistency. He had great potential as a boy, and was a very comfortable football player who could do a bit of everything.”

Wrong path taken

Moyes admits that moving to Manchester City was only a bad thing for Rodwell, and he hoped that his move to Sunderland back in 2014 would kick-start his career. He went on to say: “There needs to be a driven desire to become a better player and that he will to step on to overcome difficult situations.”

Former Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce was a fan of the midfielder, but was only able to play him in just over half of last season’s games down to the player’s injury or lack of match fitness.

Rodwell has featured in pre-season a fair bit, but was left out last time out against Montpellier as an injury precaution. The Black Cats are lacking numbers in midfield and are still yet to bring a new face through the door, which may mean Rodwell could be handed a start come August 13 against his former club Manchester City.

Paul Bracewell and Robbie Stockdale to stay at Sunderland

David Moyes was recently appointed as the Black Cats’ new manager, and the Scotsman confirmed both of his assistants will remain at the club.

Sunderland have seen their fair share of manager’s in recent seasons, and the experienced Paul Bracewell and Robbie Stockdale have seen many come and go. New manager David Moyes confirmed that the pair would stay on with him as a new era on Wearside begins.

Bracewell, assistant manager, and Stockdale, first team coach, were both part of Sam Allardyce’s backroom staff, but since the arrival of Moyes the pair have remained and have worked closely with the Scot in the Black Cats’ tour of France.

JS77310646 Stockdale and Bracewell alongside former boss Sam Allardyce away at Crystal Palace last campaign. (Image source: The Chronicle)

Speaking at his first press conference as Sunderland boss, Moyes said: “My plan is to keep both Paul Bracewell and Robbie Stockdale, I will make changes in some areas but ideally I’m going to try and go along.”

Moyes shows recognition

The former Everton and Manchester United boss acknowledged the hard work the duo had put into keeping the Black Cats in the Premier League after surviving relegation last campaign. He also said: “I don’t want to disrupt anything because this club has had too many disruptions in the past.”

Sunderland fans have been crying out for a manager to stabilise them as a Premier League side after years of battling relegation, and Moyes may just be that man.

“Let’s see if we can get a wee bit of continuity, and if we can get that level of stability that allows us to progress because that will be the most important thing,” the 53-year-old said.

How will the pair contribute to Moyes’ management?

Both Bracewell and Stockdale will benefit Moyes’ management in different ways.

Bracewell previously played for the club, making over 100 appearances in two spells. He also has managerial experience, managing both Fulham and Halifax Town.

1632839 Paul Bracewell made over 100 appearances for the Black Cats. (Image source: The Chronicle)

As well as Bracewell, Stockdale has brilliant knowledge of the youth sides and will give the new boss an idea of youngsters who may be ready to make the step-up to the first team.

The trio will manage their first competitive match of the 2016/17 season on August 13, when they travel to the Etihad Stadium to play title favourites Manchester City.

 

Carl Frampton beats Leo Santa Cruz to win WBA Featherweight title in New York City

The Jackal won the fight after 12 rounds, with two judges seeing it in Frampton’s favour and one seeing it as a draw.

The Northern Ireland fighter and Leo Santa Cruz put on what could be fight of the year in the early hours of Sunday morning. Both men stood and exchanged in a number of rounds and the speed of the fight was outstanding.

It was the first defeat of Santa Cruz’s career and the mexican immediately expressed his desire for the rematch straight after.

Frampton became the first Northern Ireland fighter to become champion at two different weight classes. “I wanted to be in a fight people would remember,” said Frampton.

Carl-Frampton-celebrates-beating-Leo-Santa-Cruz Frampton saw his hand raised. Pictured alongside Barry McGuigan and trainer Shane McGuigan. (The Mirror)

Saturday’s fight was Frampton’s first as a professional at featherweight, having moved up a division after unifying the IBF and WBA super-bantamweight titles by beating England’s Scott Quigg in Manchester in February.

The Belfast boxer, in his fifth world title fight, made the stronger start, forcing Leo back onto the ropes with heavy punches in the second.

The slick Mexican was doing more work but Frampton’s percentage of punches landed was clearly greater on the night. Santa Cruz finished strongly and many fight fans scored it differently. Some had it a draw, some had it either fighters way, only the judges could decide.

One judge scored it a 114-114 draw but the others made Frampton the winner, 116-112 and 117-111. Frampton had won, much to the delight of the travelling fans who came out in their numbers.

Framptons manager, Barry McGuigan who had previously held the same title, said: “This is one of the greatest nights of my life.”

The newly crowned champion has made it clear he wants Welsh fighter Lee Selby, but hasn’t ruled out a rematch with Santa Cruz in Belfast.

lee-selby-boxing-celebration_3310809 Could this be Framptons next opponent? Lee Selby pictured. (Sky Sports)

Sunderland 1-1 Montpellier HSC: Black Cats remain unbeaten in pre-season

David Moyes remains unbeaten in pre-season but is left frustrated with injury blows.

Fabio Borini gave Sunderland the lead just before the half-time break against the French Ligue 1 side, but Souleymane Camara levelled not long into the second half.

Not many chances were created from either side and tirdeness may have been a factor with both sides playing a number of pre-season games in a short space of time.

Moyes was left frustrated at full time with a few players added to the injury list on Saturday.

Injury blows for Black Cats

Jermain Defoe may already miss the start of the season after picking up a knock against Dijon on Wednesday evening and Saturday afternoon’s game saw a few players pick up injuries. Jan Kirchoff and Billy Jones were taken off with injuries whilst Patrick van Aanholt and Jack Rodwell were left out as precautions.

JohnOSheaandSebLarsson.jpgEuro duo:  John O’shea and Sebastian Larsson did return from Euro 2016 duties and featured for the Black Cats. (safc.com)

Youngsters were once again given the chance to impress and they did just that when given the chance. The lack of any signing through the door and typical injuries to a few players is making it increasingly likely that the youngsters will be given a chance come August 13.

Sunderland play Borussia Dortmund Friday evening in their biggest test yet and will play their first game of the new Premier League season just eight days later away to Manchester City.

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