Police arrest Sunderland duo

Cattermole and Bendtner were held by Northumbria Police on

Thursday. The pair were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage

and bailed following an incident in Stowell Street, Newcastle, at

about 10pm on December 6. The news came less than a week after

central defender Titus Bramble returned to action after a six-week

club suspension following his arrest after a night out on Teesside.

New Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill had already completed his

pre-match press conference when Thursday’s events were confirmed

late on Friday morning, and had indicated that both men could be

involved in Sunday’s game against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Cattermole missed O’Neill’s first game in charge, last Saturday’s

2-1 home victory over Blackburn, as he served a one-match ban after

reaching five bookings for the season, while Bendtner, who played

in a training ground match yesterday, sat out with a groin problem.

O’Neill said: “We have three players who weren’t available last

week for one reason or another – Bendtner, Cattermole and [Craig]

Gardner – and if Craig Gardner and Bendtner have recovered from

yesterday’s exertions in the game, then we could have them

available for selection, so that’s encouraging.” O’Neill could have

done without any distractions as he attempts to drag Sunderland

away from the developing battle against relegation. They remain

just two points clear of the drop zone despite last weekend’s

victory, and while the win over Blackburn launched the new

manager’s reign in promising style, he knows there is much work

still to be done. He said: “It’s been hectic, but obviously

Sunday’s result made it worthwhile. Even with that, we haven’t got

level points per games played yet, so we have to really battle

through this Christmas period.” Bendtner’s availability would

provide a boost for O’Neill, who started with Connor Wickham in

attack at the weekend despite the teenager having managed just two

days of light training following his return from a knee ligament

injury.