Sunderland boss Lee Johnson has provided a positive update on the fitness of both Bailey Wright and Arbenit Xhemajli, which has been well received by many fans of the North East club.
Both centre-backs have missed long periods due to injury this term, with Wright not featuring since February and Xhemajli making just one appearance all season.
Sunderland face Wigan today as they look to bounce back from defeat to Charlton on the weekend and, speaking to the club website ahead of the game, Johnson has provided a positive update on the defensive duo.
He said: “Bailey Wright looks like he is ready to go – his injury has healed and there is no doubting that.
“Ideally you would like to get him some Under-23 minutes where possible, but we know Bails as a performer, as a character – and know the level of experience that he’s got – and also as a professional in terms of his fitness.
“If there’s anyone that could step straight in, it’s him.”
Johnson also revealed that Xhemajli had reached a milestone in his recovery from a long-term knee injury as he was back on the grass yesterday.
“It was also great to see Arby out running today,” noted the Black Cats boss.
Johnson added: “He’s coped really well and it’s good to see him out moving again – jumping and bounding – he’s a long way off, but it was nice to see.”
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It’s going to be very interesting to see how the 39-year-old coach approaches team selection with Wright now fit because he was a mainstay in the side before his injury but in his absence, Luke O’Nien and Dion Sanderson have formed a fantastic centre-back partnership.
The fitness update has certainly been well received by fans of the North East club, with many taking to Twitter to share their thoughts…
Great news, just put him straight in imo https://t.co/jThgZraJ0f
— David Hindmarsh (@DavidHindmarsh7) April 12, 2021
Get him in https://t.co/JLrB5u2ntD
— Glen (@RunGMC16) April 12, 2021
Oh yes https://t.co/waxV5OeAGK
— Will🇫🇷 (@SunlunWill) April 12, 2021
Straight in the team for me tomorrow then https://t.co/j46KESMmqo
— Jake Stubbs (@JStubbs0302) April 12, 2021
— Lewis Graham 🇲🇫🇨🇭🇬🇧 (@lewygsafc) April 12, 2021
Finally thank god
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThompson7__) April 12, 2021
— Colin Roberts (@mackem49000) April 12, 2021
Good to see Wright is fit he’s ready to go also nice to see Arby back as well.
— Oluwaseun Bamgboye (@bamgboyeolu) April 12, 2021