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Alex Neil provides key fitness update on Sunderland man as play-offs loom

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Sunderland manager Alex Neil says he is hopeful but not certain that Dennis Cirkin will be available for the club’s League One play-off campaign.

The Black Cats secured their place in the third-tier play-offs with a 1-0 win at Morecambe on the final day of the regular season on Saturday.

Neil’s side now face a two-legged semi-final against Sheffield Wednesday, with the first of those meetings with the Owls set to come on at the Stadium of Light on Friday night.

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Cirkin has missed each of Sunderland’s last three games with a calf injury, having previously made 38 appearances in all competitions for the club this season.

Now though, it seems Neil is not ruling out the chances of Cirkin appearing in the play-offs just yet.

Providing an update on the fitness of the defender in the wake of that win over Morecambe, the Sunderland manager was quoted by The Chronicle as saying: “I would hope so, but I can’t really commit to anything right now – I don’t know what the answer is.

“Let’s say he has a chance, it’s not one of those where we can just say he’s out.”

Meanwhile, Neil also confirmed that he is hopeful Callum Doyle and Carl Winchester will feature in the play-offs after they also missed that win at Morecambe through injury.

The Verdict

This will no doubt be a big relief for those of a Sunderland persuasion.

Once again, the Black Cats are facing the lottery of the play-offs, if they are to finally secure their long awaited return to the Championship.

As a result, they are going to need as many of their key players fit and available as possible, given the pressure and demands of such a quick turnaround to the play-offs, and that includes the likes of Cirkin, Doyle and Winchester.

With that in mind, Sunderland could now go into these play-offs with a decent amount of confidence, but with Wednesday in form as well, this could set us up for an excellent semi-final between the two.


UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, been writing for Football League World since March 2019. I've previously worked for the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Opta, among others.

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Article title: Alex Neil provides key fitness update on Sunderland man as play-offs loom

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