Sunderland players Lee Cattermole and Nicklas Bendtner held over damaged cars

 

Martin O'Neill was today facing a decision over Lee Cattermole and Nicklas Bendtner after it emerged that the pair had been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.

Barely a fortnight into his reign, the 59-year-old found himself having to deal with an unwelcome off-field situation with both men due to return to the squad for Sunday's Barclays Premier League trip to Tottenham.

Northumbria Police confirmed that skipper Cattermole and on-loan striker Bendtner, both 23, were bailed after being arrested yesterday in connection with in incident in Newcastle in which cars were damaged 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.

O'Neill had already completed his pre-match press conference when yesterday's events were confirmed late this morning, and had indicated that both men could be involved 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.

The Ulsterman is yet to speak to Asamoah Gyan, whose departure on loan for the season to United Arab Emirates club Al-Ain in August further depleted the Black Cats' striking resources, although he intends to remedy that situation early next week.

He said: "I have got Asamoah's number and I intend to call him. I really should have called him there a couple of days ago, but didn't do, and I will certainly call him before Christmas as much to introduce myself.

"In terms of the way the contract and the deal has been structured, it may well be that there is no chance of us getting him back at that time and the ball may well be in the other club's court.

"From that viewpoint, they might not want to."

If Gyan does not return, as seems likely, O'Neill faces a decision over whether to go with what he already has - Fraizer Campbell is close to resuming full training after also playing behind closed doors yesterday - or dipping into the winter transfer market.

However, he insists the thought of going to chairman Ellis Short with a wishlist is yet to cross his mind.

He said: "I genuinely have not considered this. You might think now after a week or 10 days here that I should be considering everything, but the games are coming so quickly that genuinely, I haven't had time to think about it.

"I have come here to try to see the club do well because we would all do well from that, but that wasn't the main priority, worrying about January, at the time.

"If nothing happens, I won't be emphasising the issue. We are going to try to see it through if we can and if something develops, something might develop."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

Berlusconi's world of sleaze

The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

Could gaming arcades be revived?

The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

Heard the one about menstruation?

Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage