It has been a busy old week for Sunderland.
A 2-2 draw with Gillingham dealt the Black Cats a last-minute blow before a bitterly disappointing defeat against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night saw Phil Parkinson’s side drop out of the play-off places.
Here then, we take a look at the FOUR biggest Sunderland related news stories of the week…
Kyle Lafferty opens up on extending his stay at the club
The 32-year-old has started the Black Cats’ last two fixtures but despite forcing his way into Phil Parkinson’s plans, his priority is earning a new deal with the Black Cats.
As quoted by the Northern Echo, Lafferty said: “I’d love to stay here.
“I said when I first joined here, if I was given the opportunity in my much younger years I would have come here.
“It’s a massive club and to get the chance to play for this football club at 32 years of age, it’s a nice feeling.
“The manager gave me a chance and the only way I can repay him is performances and goals.
“Hopefully Saturday’s goals sends me in the right direction.”
Antoine Semenyo’s message to Phil Parkinson
The young forward moved to the Stadium Of Light during the January transfer window after falling down the pecking order with Championship side Bristol City.
In that time Semenyo has found it difficult to break into the Black Cats’ starting XI, but the 20-year-old insists that he’s enjoying the challenge of adapting to life in League One.
Speaking in the matchday programme ahead of the Gillingham clash, Semenyo said: “I am loving it here.
“I am enjoying it and my team-mates have made me feel comfortable here.
“I am far away from my family, but these guys are slowly becoming like my family.
“I need to be sharper and I know I need to be doing much more off the ball, working much harder in training to improve and get into the starting XI.
“I know that my responsibility has been more about impacting the game from the bench, but I am really trying my best to give the manager a selection headache.”
Stephen Elliott lashes out at Sunderland players following defeat
The Black Cats made it four games without a victory after falling to a shock 2-0 defeat against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night.
That result means that Sunderland have now dropped out of the League One play-off spots and have it all to do if they’re to get their season back on track.
Phil Parkinson’s side now have 10 games to get their season back on track, and while they’re only out of the top six on goal difference, the former Sunderland man has cast doubt over whether the squad have what it takes to get the job done.
Not enough hunger in this squad to better themselves and get promoted. I feel majority of squad know they won’t be good enough for Championship and aren’t that bothered about going up as they will be moved on from club if they do. Just happy to be here in L1. #safc
— Stephen Elliott (@SleevesElliott) March 10, 2020
Can you name every Sunderland player’s shirt number this season?
Sunderland make first move in pursuit of Championship starlet
According to Lancs Live, Phil Parkinson’s side have taken Chanka Zimba on trial, with a view to a permanent deal.
The Blackburn Rovers youngster has been a regular goalscoring threat for the Championship’s side under-18 side after scoring eight goals in 13 appearances this term.
His last strike came at the end of February, before Zimba linked up with Sunderland on a trial period.
The 18-year-old was named on the bench for Sunderland under-23’s 2-0 defeat against Wigan Athletic on Monday evening where he was playing for a contract at the Stadium Of Light.
If Zimba can impress during this period then he could be in the next crop of young players who will be pushing to be a part of Phil Parkinson’s senior side next season.