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Early kick-off at Everton for SAFC gives no advantage in relegation battle says head coach Dick Advocaat

Sunderland Head Coach Dick Advocaat says he doesn't believe his team's early kick off at Everton tomorrow gives them any significant advantage in the Premier League relegation battle.

The Black Cats will be without their Captain, John O'Shea, for the trip to Merseyside. He's got a rib injury. But another veteran defender, Wes Brown, is fit to return, while striker Steven Fletcher is also available after injury.

If Sunderland win their lunchtime kick off at Goodison Park they'll move out of the bottom three and put more pressure on their relegation rivals, all of whom kick of at 3pm. The Black Cats go into the game in good spirits, after last weekend's win over Southampton. But Advocaat thinks the early kick off isn't a big issue.

Dick Advocaat: SAFC win was 'a real team performance'

Sunderland are still a point away from being safe from relegation but Dick Advocaat praised 'a real team performance' which led them to a 2-1 win over Southampton.

Jordi Gomez put the team 1-0 up with a penalty, but Southampton's Sadio Mane levelled the scores after a minute.

Gomez secured the win with another penalty in the second half.

He told ITV Tyne Tees he is 'enjoying the fight' but added: 'Sometimes I would prefer to play instead of staying on the side. The team were knackered after the game. They showed the same fighting spirit as they did against Newcastle.'

Watch the full press conference.

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Adam Johnson returns to training with Sunderland

Sunderland winger Adam Johnson has returned to training after the club lifted his suspension.

The 27-year-old midfielder was suspended by the Black Cats earlier this month following his arrest on suspicion of sexual activity with a girl under 16.

He will now be free to resume while the police investigation continues.

The club has issued the following statement:

The club has discussed the current position in detail with both the PFA (Professional Footballers' Association) and Adam's representatives.

In line with those discussions we recognise that the player is entitled to re-commence his duties with the club while the legal process continues. He will therefore return to training.

The club's own investigation cannot continue until the conclusion of the legal process. Sunderland AFC will make no further comment on the matter due to the ongoing police investigation.

– Sunderland AFC

Durham Constabulary have also commented on Sunderland's decision:

Sunderland AFC informed us this morning of their decision, which of course is a matter entirely for the club. The police investigation remains very much live and ongoing and a man remains on bail while enquiries continue.

“We would once again urge those posting on social media to be aware of the effects their comments can have. We accept rumour and speculation may be inevitable, but many of the comments have been distressing to the complainant, her family and people connected with the investigation."

– Durham Constabulary

Johnson has had his police bail extended until April 23rd.

Sunderland to play Fulham in the FA Cup 4th Round

Credit: PA

Sunderland will play Fulham in the fourth round of the FA Cup, following the Cottager's victory over Wolves last night.

Heavy snow hit the Molineux during extra time, which ended 3-3, with goals from Cauley Woodrow, Ross McCormack, Dave Edwards and Rajiv van La Parra.

Hugo Rodallega's goal in the penalty shootout earned Fulham a 5-3 win on penalties against the Wanderers.

Fulham's Seko Fofana takes on the Wolverhampton Wanderers' defenders in the snow in last night's match Credit: PA

The game is on Saturday 24th January at 3pm.

Transfer rumours: Sunderland targets Jermain Defoe

Credit: PA

England striker Jermaine Defoe could be making the move to Wearside, according to the national press.

Sky Sports are reporting Sunderland have held talks with Toronto FC, where he moved last year, over a possible deal to sign the former Spurs player.

The 32-year old has been training with Tottenham during the MLS off-season.

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