The A to Z of Sunderland’s Marseille connection


The injury to Lee Cattermole seriously tests the strength of our squad. But Colin Randall feels that in Cana and Zenden, Sunderland have two of this season’s canniest Premier acquisitions …

Confirmation that Lee Cattermole will be out for three months means that we will come to rely ever more heavily on the qualities of our pair of Marseillais. A for the Albanian Lorik Cana, captain of club and country (and captain at OM until his move), Z for Boudewijn “Bolo” Zenden.

The loss of Cattermole – cue for abject apology from the Liverpool players and officials who whinged so pitilessly when this strong, battling midfielder crumpled in a heap – is a serious blow.

He has been hugely impressive in every game since arriving on a transfer that, if we are honest, divided Sunderland fans.

But amid all our joy at winning three points, and all the amusement caused by the beach ball goal, we knew we had probably lost him for weeks ahead. It just had that look of a serious injury, and so it has transpired.

Lorik Cana was commanding in midfield and, as we regrouped for the second half, a towering force in the heart of the defence. We just need him to stop picking uo needless bookings. And Zenden did ample in his time on the field to show how important his maturity and class are going to be in the coming months.

Of course, it suits Bordeaux-baiting Salut! Sunderland to note that both reached Wearside from Marseille. Whatever the respective merits of la Canebière and the Bridges Centre, or Prado Plage and Roker Sands, they know they have beached up at a club bursting with tradition, passion and ambition.

A sizeable weight now rests on their shoulders, and on those of the immensely promising Jordan Henderson, as we seek to consolidate an excellent start to the season.

On the evidence so far, they are up to that challenge. And with quality now easy to detect throughout Steve Bruce’s squad, we should – even without Cattermole, and whatever the impact of Kewyne Jones’s injury – approach the rest of the season in good heart.

Dare it be said? We might even have Peter Reid’s seventh top in our sights as a beatable target.

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