Gareth Copley - Getty Images
In the least surprising news of the season so far - including John Terry irrevocably proving hismelf to be a total prat - Ryan Noble has returned to Hartlepool United on a one-month loan deal.
The 21-year-old striker, long heralded for his prolific goalscoring record at youth level, spent a spell at Victoria Park last season but has struggled to break into the first team picture at The Stadium of Light despite scoring a stunning winning goal against FC Groningen this summer.
Clearly, with Steven Fletcher hitting the back of a net as often and as naturally you would a whack-a-mole with an uncanny resemblance to Luis Suarez, and Louis Saha providing experienced and quality cover, there is little prospect of Noble getting games at Sunderland any time soon.
A loan deal, therefore, suits everyone, although with the greatest respect to Pools, you would rather see Noble plying his trade a little higher. The assumption must be that he will merely be the first of a few of the younger players to head out into the football league on loan deals in search of games.
Given his age, lack of physical development, failure to make an impression any higher than League One to date, and the fact that it is difficult to see where he can fit into a Martin O'Neill system, the temptation is to write Ryan Noble off in terms of making it as a Premier League footballer any time soon.
Perhaps that would be premature, though. Time is running out for him at Sunderland, but he clearly has quality in there somewhere.
Lets hope he comes back fitter, stronger, and full of confidence.