It proved to be a busy day at the Academy of Light on deadline day, with Sunderland AFC announcing the departure of young duo of Jordan Blinco and Dan Pybus.
Moving on to big and better things
Blinco moved to Wearside from Darlington at the age of 15 way back in 2012, and he proved crucial for Eliott Dickman's U18's side almost instantly as they reached the Premier League semi-final's. The 20-year-old managed a handful of appearances for the U23's before a brief loan spell Norway with Bergosy last march.
Like the Durham-born youngster Pybus showed his worth with U18's managing 15 goals in 23 matches last season, and made the step up to then manager's Andy Welsh's side.
Game we want to win
It has been a miserable season for the senior Black Cats, but their relegation battle was slightly boosted during the week when they managed to hold out for a 0-0 draw with the high-flying Tottenham Hotspur.
Saturday will prove vital for David Moyes' side as they visit fellow strugglers Crystal Palace, it will be a reunion with former manager and player Sam Allardyce and Patrick van Aanholt and striker Jermain Defoe stated that it is a game that he wants to win badly.
“It’s a game I want to win badly," Defoe told safc.com. "It’s not just because Big Sam and Patrick have gone there."
"It’s because they won last night," he stated. "We need to stay close and put pressure on the teams around us."
"If we can go there and pick up three points it will be a big result for us," the striker stressed. "But if we play like we did against Spurs."
"We’ll get chances against the lesser teams," Defoe concluded. "That’s no disrespect to Palace but Spurs are pushing for the title.”
Sunderland AFC will take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday, February 4 with kick-off at 3pm GMT.