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Sunderland midfielder M'Vila cleared to play Norwich

Sunderland midfielder Yann M'Vila will be available to make a Barclays Premier League debut against Norwich despite being sent off at the weekend.

M'Vila needs to use his head in a different way. Credit: PA

The 25-year-old France international, who joined the club on a season-long loan deal from Rubin Kazan last week, was dismissed for headbutting striker Jamar Loza during the Under-21s' 3-1 win over Norwich on Sunday.

However, the Black Cats have confirmed that any sanction - an offence of violent conduct carries a mandatory three-game ban - will apply only to Under-21s fixtures.

A statement said: "Yann M'Vila will be available to make his debut against Norwich City this weekend.

"M'Vila made a loan move to the Stadium of Light last week and will be in contention to make his senior bow against the Canaries.

"The midfielder received a red card whilst playing for the Under-21 side on Sunday. However, any sanction applies to the U21 competition only."

Adam Johnson trial pushed back to February 2016

The trial of England and Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson on child sex charges has been put back to next year.

Johnson pictured arriving at court today. Credit: PA

The 28-year-old Sunderland winger has appeared at Durham Crown Court for a hearing which dealt with legal rulings, ahead of a trial which had been scheduled for later this month.

Judge Christopher Prince, the recorder of Durham, accepted that the trial could not take place then, and said it will be heard at Bradford Crown Court on February 10.

The judge said details of Monday's hearing could not be reported, except to say it involved legal and administrative matters.

Johnson, wearing a blue-grey checked suit and white shirt with no tie, was driven to the hearing in a Range Rover, and walked into the court building with a group of men including his legal team and his father.

The defendant, from Castle Eden, County Durham, has already denied three counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of grooming.

Danny Graham donates to save career of fellow player

Sunderland striker Danny Graham has put his hand in his pocket to help save a fellow footballer's career.

What a gesture from Danny Graham. Credit: PA

The 29-year-old Black Cats frontman has donated £2,690 to a fund set up to raise funds to cover the cost of an operation for Gateshead midfielder JJ O'Donnell, who is suffering from the rare foot condition sesamoiditis.

O'Donnell confirmed the news via his Twitter account, tweeting: "I'm not singling Danny out as without everybody donating, I wouldn't have ever reached my target, but a donation like that has left me speechless.

"I've never met Danny, but for him to put an astronomical amount like that towards a fund of a lad who he doesn't know speaks volumes of what a true gentleman he is.

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Sunderland fans to fly banner during Newcastle game

Maybe it would be funny in Sunderland weren't fighting relegation? Credit: @HITCtopcorner

Sunderland fans are reportedly planning to fly a "5 in a row" banner over St James' Park today during Newcastle's match against Spurs.

The Black Cats have beaten Newcastle in their last five meetings, but have problems of their own as they fight to remain in the Premier League this season.

There are also reports that a significant number of Newcastle fans will boycott today's match in protest at owner Mike Ashley's lack of ambition in the transfer market.

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