Steven Fletcher misses Wolves’ victory as Sunderland’s interest intensifies
STEVEN Fletcher missed out on Wolves’ pre-season friendly victory over Midlands rivals Walsall on Saturday as it emerged that Sunderland have formalised their interest in the former Hibernian and Burnley striker by tabling a bid.
It is understood the Black Cats have made a formal offer for the 25-year-old Scotland exile after months of speculation over his future.
Fletcher, who has two years remaining on his contract at Molineux, is understood to be among manager Martin O’Neill’s main targets this summer as he attempts to plug the gaps left by Asamoah Gyan and Nicklas Bendtner.
However, relegated Wolves reportedly value the player at around £10million, and it remains to be seen whether or not Sunderland’s bid comes close to persuading them to sell.
Fletcher joined the Black Country club from Burnley two summers ago, and although he personally has performed creditably in the Barclays Premier League, has been relegated twice during his time in the English top flight.
O’Neill has, to date, made only one signing since the end of last season after completing a move for free agent Carlos Cuellar following the expiry of his deal at Aston Villa.
At the same time, a procession of players have headed out of the Stadium of Light, many of them from the fringes of the senior squad, but including the likes of Gyan, Scotland keeper Craig Gordon and central defender Michael Turner.
The Ulsterman revealed last week that the club was monitoring several situations and that he hoped to make a breakthrough soon.
Wolves, meanwhile, saw off Walsall courtesy of goals from Frank Nouble, Adam Hammill and Kevin Doyle at the Banks’s Stadium, as they limbered up for their Championship opener against Leeds at Elland Road on .
Meanwhile, St Mirren were pegged back by a superb solo goal from George Miller as npower League Two outfit Accrington salvaged a 1-1 draw at the Crown Ground. Former Dundee United and Rangers striker Steven Thompson had put the Buddies in front in the 74th minute when he got in front of his man to turn in Jack Smith’s cross.
But Stanley were only behind for three minutes after Miller cut inside and unleashed a strike from the edge of the box that curled past St Mirren goalkeeper Grant Adam, brother of Liverpool midfielder Charlie.
Elsewhere in Lancashire, Steve Kean’s Blackburn Rovers side geared up for life in the Championship by beating Greek outfit AEK Athens 2-1 at Fleetwood yesterday. Both Rovers goals came from new recruits with Portuguese veteran Nuno Gomes and £3million signing Leon Best putting them two goals up at the interval before Athens pulled themselves back into the game in the second half.
Rovers’ victory was soured, however, as Best was stretchered off with a serious looking knee injury.
Southampton’s pre-season fixture at St Mary’s ended in a 1-0 defeat to Eredivisie champions Ajax on Saturday.
Aras Ozbiliz’s goal separated the two sides, the young winger finding the target after 64 minutes with a low strike.
Norwich enjoyed a better result in their friendly at Peterborough, beating the London Road outfit 2-0.
Steve Morison gave the Canaries the lead after 32 minutes and James Vaughan wrapped up the scoring four minutes from time.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: West