Lee Johnson has provided an injury update ahead of Sunderland’s clash with Oxford United this afternoon.
The Black Cats are preparing for a pivotal Easter weekend as they battle against two promotion rivals in the shape of Karl Robinson’s side on Good Friday and Peterborough United on Easter Monday.
As well as having six points up for grabs there’s also a chance to stop their rivals from adding to their tallies – something that the Wearsiders will be keen to do.
Johnson is keen to have as many players fit as possible, but providing an update on Bailey Wright and Tom Flanagan, it seems that the defensive duo are still not ready to feature.
Discussing the duo with the Northern Echo, Johnson said: “I expect both to be back before the end of the season, for sure.
“If all goes to plan, Bailey is probably one week away from training with the players. We’ll look to get him in training with the boys next Friday, and at that point, we’ll have to assess what sort of minutes he needs.
“We’ll have to look at the game schedule with the Under-23s, and we may even arrange a game again so we can control the minutes within that.
“Flanno is a difficult one at the moment. He’s had two separate opinions on a foot injury and they’re both very different, which is very unusual with the specialists being top specialists. We need to know whether we’re going to have a third opinion on that.
“In the meantime, he’s nursing the hamstring, which is going very well. He was out running today, although that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s near a comeback.
“With Flanno, it’s a case of sorting out the foot issue, or deciding to play through the pain and sort out the foot issue in the summer, while nursing the hamstring and making sure that he comes back sharper than he did the last time.”
Johnson also provided good news on Jordan Jones and Denver Hume, saying: “Jones is in a good place.
“He’s had three or four days training now, and feels good and looks sharp. He naturally will come back into the squad.
“Denver is not a million miles away now. There’s probably a decision to make over the next two games whether we reintroduce him. I’ll have a good chat with him, sometimes that positionally as well.”
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It’s no surprise that Lee Johnson wants to have as many players fit as possible.
Games are coming thick and fast at the moment and so the more options that are available to Sunderland, the better.
That said the Black Cats are doing well with the players currently available to the gaffer and so Johnson will no doubt be pleased to keep building that cohesion that comes with a winning formula.