Cats Clear The Air

09 April 2009 11:09
Sunderland players have held clear-the-air talks following a disappointing week in their survival bid. A lacklustre 2-0 defeat at West Ham on Saturday has left the Black Cats just one place and two points above the drop zone. They are running out of time in their efforts to secure their Premier League status, with only seven games of the season now remaining. The tension is beginning to take its toll, with a number of players becoming involved in an on-field argument at Upton Park. Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon admits the camp has begun to show cracks, but hopes a recent inquisition into the club's shortcomings will have brought an end to disruptions. "We had a good chat on Tuesday after training and got a few things out in the open," Gordon told the Sunderland Echo. "That's the way we deal with things, we talk about it and try to work things through. It was constructive and hopefully we can take those things into our next game (against Manchester United on Saturday). "All we can do is try to fix the mistakes we made at West Ham and make sure they don't happen again. "There are only seven games left and every one is vital." Sunderland's plans for their weekend meeting with the Red Devils have been dealt a blow with the news that club captain Dean Whitehead is struggling with a calf injury. "At this stage, he's no more than 50/50 I would say," said manager Ricky Sbragia. "He took a knock on his calf early on in the game at West Ham last weekend but Deano being Deano, he managed to play through it. "But it is a problem and we are going to have to look at it. I'm not going to rule him out at this stage but I would be lying if I said he wasn't a real doubt for us," On a more positive note, Finland international Teemu Tainio could be welcomed back into the fold after shaking off a persistent knee injury. "Teemu's surprised us. He's responded really well over the last few days and he's got a chance for the weekend. He's had the knee problem for a while now but he's come on a lot and he's ready to be involved again," added Sbragia. "At one stage it just didn't look as though it was going to go well for him but he's had an injection, it seems to have worked and he's trained for the last 10 days. There was a chance we could have involved him for the West Ham game but he wanted another seven days rest just to be sure and we were happy with that. "His progress has continued and I think, as things stand, he'll definitely be involved in the squad this weekend, though it might be too soon too start."

Source: Eurosport