Sunderland’s promotion hopes have been dealt a bit of a blow recently with an injury picked up by loan star Jordan Jones – and he will be missing once again this weekend.
The 26-year-old winger joined from Rangers during the January transfer window to bolster Lee Johnson’s attacking options, and he’s made some impact by scoring two goals and weighing in with three assists in nine outings.
One of those goals was a delightful chip against fellow play-off contenders Portsmouth, and the Northern Ireland international was proving to be an effective alternative to the likes of Aiden McGeady and Chris Maguire.
But disaster struck following that Pompey game as Jones picked up a muscle injury, which ruled him out of the EFL Trophy final against Tranmere Rovers and the next two league games against Accrington Stanley and Lincoln City.
The Black Cats didn’t lose any of those games but his creativity would have no doubt helped to pick up a victory against the Imps on Saturday, and he will be missing Sunderland’s clash with Bristol Rovers this Saturday, with League One still playing on through the international break.
Sunderland icon Kevin Phillips has weighed in with his thoughts on Jones picking up an untimely issue, and he feels as though he is going to be a massive miss.
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“It is a shame he picked up the injury because he was just hitting form. He scored a wonder goal away at Crewe and another important one down at Portsmouth,” said Phillips, per Football Insider.
“It is not ideal for Lee ahead of the run in but it does not sound as if it is too serious. Hopefully he will be back in a game or two.
“It’s always tough as a player when you get injured when you are in form. It took Jones a while to settle so hopefully when he returns he is back to his best.
“It is a big blow but Lee has shown that he has depth in his squad. He has rotated it a bit and the players have all performed when called upon.”
Sunderland haven’t had much luck this season with injuries – especially defenders – and Jones is someone you don’t want to lose for a long period of time.
As he showed against Crewe and Portsmouth, the winger can create something out of nothing and he’s a real match-winner at League One level.
Thankfully for Lee Johnson he has very adequate back-up to call upon, and when Jones does return it will only strengthen his hand for the run-in, which could see Sunderland be favourites to nick one of the two automatic promotion spots up for grabs.