Sunderland boss issues injury update and summer transfer stance latest as EFL hit out at FA decision

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Your Sunderland evening headlines on Thursday, April 18.

Sunderland will be hoping to continue their impressive run of form when they host Millwall at the Stadium of Light on Saturday. Mike Dodds’ side enjoyed an excellent 1-0 win at West Brom last weekend, building on consecutive goalless draws against Bristol City and promotion-chasing Leeds United.

The Black Cats can neither be promoted nor relegated but will be keen to end the campaign on a high and lay the foundations for next season. Ahead of Saturday’s visit of Millwall, The Sunderland Echo has rounded up some of the latest stories.

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Evans update 

Mike Dodds has confirmed that Corry Evans is close to making his Sunderland comeback, though it may be that he makes his return to the squad at Watford next weekend.

Evans has been back in full training for a few weeks and is in contention to travel to Vicarage Road, though Dodds has also confirmed that the game will come too soon for Dennis Cirkin as he makes progress in his recovery from a hamstring issue.

Though there are one or two doubts for Millwall’s visit to the Stadium of Light on Saturday, Dodds is expecting to name a similar squad to last week’s games at Leeds and West Brom.

Summer transfer stance 

Mike Dodds says Sunderland are in a strong position to resist interest in their best youngsters this summer, and added that he hasn’t seen any signs behind the scenes that players are keen to move on.

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Sunderland’s play-off push has fizzled out disappointingly in the second half of the campaign, with the Black Cats sitting firmly in midtable ahead of the final three fixtures. Jack Clarke is expected to draw top-tier bids this summer, with Sunderland open to a sale at the right price given that the winger will be entering the final two years of his current contract.

EFL statement

The EFL have released a strong statement and will seek compensation for its clubs following the decision to scrap FA Cup replays next season.

Changes to the competition are set to be implemented for the 2024/25 campaign as part of a six-year agreement between the FA (Football Association) and the Premier League, but has been criticised by many. Gate receipts for FA Cup fixtures are split equally between the two clubs competing, meaning it has always been lucrative for smaller clubs to secure an away tie or replay against teams with bigger stadiums.