Much like his club’s, Jordan Pickford’s pre-season is temporarily on hold.
The keeper is set to miss the start of Sunderland’s programme after picking up a thigh injury. The Black Cats have been at a training camp in Austria but their plans may be scuppered slightly by the FA’s interest in Sam Allardyce taking over as England manager.
Pickford suffers thigh problem in Austria
The squad, without Allardyce, flew back to the North East this morning and Pickford’s injury will be assessed once the players return to the Academy of Light. The injury will come to as a huge disappointment to the youngster who enjoyed a positive to end to last season’s campaign as he awarded with a start away to Watford. The 22-year-old also signed a new deal at the Stadium of Light with a number of clubs, including Manchester United sniffing around him.
Pickford was recalled to the Stadium of Light midway through last season despite enjoying a successful loan spell with Preston, breaking many club records and gaining many plaudits. Sunderland fans are said to be a big fan of their starlet stopper, who’s distribution has been highly commended by the likes of Chris Kirkland.
Black Cats' pre-season fixtures begin next week
Sunderland’s first game of the off season comes on Wednesday against League Two Hartlepool United, and it’s not only Pickford who may be missing. There is still an element of alarming uncertainty surrounding the future of Big Sam. Sunderland have already publically criticised the FA over their approach for Sam and wished for a fast resolve, however it’s thought that it’s going to be anything but.
FA chiefs still have Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe on their radar and Steve Bruce has shown a strong interest in the job. Allardyce does however remain favourite for the job. It’s no secret that managing England is Allardyce’s dream, in his autobiography he openly speaks of his disappointment about being overlooked for the position in 2006.