Sunderland will be without goalkeeper Lee Burge for a couple of weeks, after he suffered a muscular injury in Saturday’s defeat at Shrewsbury.
The ‘keeper signed for the Black Cats on a free transfer, after leaving Coventry City. The 26-year-old made 140 appearances in his five year stint at the Sky Blues.
Since his arrival, Burge has impressed at Sunderland. He started in both of their cup wins against Burnley and Sheffield United. And, with Sunderland’s last 16 clash coming against Oxford United, Burge will be disappointed he can’t feature.
Since the arrival of new manager Phil Parkinson, Burge has started all three league games. He played well against Wycombe Wanderers, before pulling off a remarkable save to preserve his clean sheet in their 5-0 win over Tranmere Rovers.
Parkinson has ruled Burge out for a couple of weeks, so we take a look at how that will effect them…
Lee Burge may lose his number one spot
Burge couldn’t have got injured at a worse time. He had started all three of Sunderland’s matches since Parkinson has been in charge, and played well, conceding just two goals in the process.
Jon McLaughlin will now get the chance to come in and stake his claim to be the new number one. If he can come into the side, rediscover his form from last season and start well, Burge might not get another opportunity.
The former Coventry shot stopper will of been hoping for a better start at the Stadium of Light, however he could get the chance to kick-on and challenge for a starting spot in the Sunderland squad when he returns from a spell in the treatment room.
Questions whether Jon McLaughlin is good enough
Sunderland were yet to keep a clean sheet before their 5-0 win over Tranmere. McLaughlin was one of Sunderland’s best performers last season, however is yet to sign a new contract, which subsequently seems to have impacted on his performances.
A number of Sunderland fans have been critical of McLaughlin this season, and were happy to see Burge given a chance in recent weeks.
It’s an opportunity for the Scotsman to prove the doubters wrong and reclaim the number one spot, but questions will be raised whether he’s cut out for it.
Disrupts Parkinson’s plans to build a spine at Sunderland
All throughout his managerial career, Parkinson has always liked to build his sides around a couple of big characters.
At Sunderland, he has immediately identified a couple of partnerships and will be looking to build around them. Joel Lynch and Jordan Willis have started all three matches at centre back, and are developing a good partnership.
While it’s looking like Max Power and George Dobson are the first choice pairing in midfield. Will Grigg has started the last couple of games and is the obvious goal scorer in their side.
Judging from his early team selections, it’s likely that Parkinson wanted Burge to be his number one, and was looking to build that solid base at the back starting with Burge. An injury to him disrupts that immediately.