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Lee Johnson explains absence of Sunderland duo from MK Dons draw

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Sunderland defender Tom Flanagan missed his side’s 2-2 draw with MK Dons with a calf problem picked up in the warm-up, manager Lee Johnson has revealed.

Flanagan has initially been named in the starting lineup for the Black Cats’ on Saturday, but was withdrawn late on with Jordan Willis coming into to take his place in the starting XI.

Now the reasons behind that late change have become clearer, and it seems as though the setback is not a serious one for Flanagan.

Explaining the reason for Flanagan’s absence, Johnson was quoted by the Sunderland Echo as saying: “He just picked up an injury in the warm up. He just felt his calf, it didn’t ping or anything like that, it was just tightness.

“It was a bit of a Catch-22 anyway in terms of who was going to play centre half, because it was a boggy pitch.

“We know Bailey [Wright] would come back in because he was fresh, and the other centre-half decision was close. With the Shrewsbury game on Tuesday we felt we needed a different attribute [here].”

Meanwhile, January signing Carl Winchester was absent with what it has been revealed is a groin injury suffered in training, which is not expected to keep him out for a long period, putting him in a similar position to defender Callum McFadzean, who was absent from Saturday’s draw at the Stadium MK.

Providing an update on the midfielder, Johnson went onto add: “He just picked up a slight tweak to his groin during finishing training.

“He just felt it and we think he’ll be out for around a week to ten days. It’s the same with Callum McFadzean, they’re not long-term ones.”

The Verdict
This update from Johnson will likely be something of a relief for Sunderland.
It is going to be a busy schedule for them between now and the end of the season as they battle for promotion back to the Championship, so they will want to have all hands on deck for that.
The fact therefore that Flanagan, Winchester and McFadzean are seemingly not set to be out for any extended length of time means they should still have a part to play in the coming months.
That ought to help the Black Cats cope with the pressure of that schedule with the means to rotate it gives them, which can only be a good thing as they look to secure their return to the Championship.

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.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Lee Johnson explains absence of Sunderland duo from MK Dons draw

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