Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson has revealed that Lynden Gooch will miss out through injury once again when the Black Cats take on Cheltenham in midweek.
The Wearsiders were narrow 1-0 winners over Bolton Wanderers at the Stadium of Light yesterday, with Carl Winchester netting the only goal.
They will remain on home soil this week to take on Michael Duff’s Robins but there’s some fitness concerns that need addressing, including that of Gooch.
The American winger was an ever-present in Johnson’s line-up before yesterday, but a foot injury saw him not in the squad whatsoever.
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An experienced replacement came in for the 25-year-old in the form of Alex Pritchard, with Elliot Embleton shifting across to the left and Aiden McGeady taking Gooch’s position on the right and it all seemed to work out rather well in the end.
Gooch may find it hard to get back in if Pritchard plays well and it won’t be Tuesday evening when he returns to the pitch as he will not be fit enough to get back into action so swiftly.
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“I don’t think he’s that serious,” Johnson said on Gooch’s injury, per the Northern Echo.
“He actually picked up a knock in training before the Fleetwood game on the top of the foot.
“It’s more than likely that has been deferred to the bottom of the foot to a ligament that’s called the Plantar Fascia and that’s the bit that’s starting to cause him a bit of a problem.
“I’d expect him to be out again for Tuesday and potentially be available for Saturday or maybe Lincoln City on the Tuesday.”
Whilst there’s no doubt that Gooch is a good player at League One level, Sunderland have more than enough options to cover in his absence.
Pritchard slotted in very well in the attacking midfield role as Johnson shuffled the pack, and there’s also Leon Dajaku and Nathan Broadhead in reserve as well.
Healthy competition is a good thing and it will only drive the starters on more so that they don’t get complacent and lose their position in the team.
Gooch may not get back in the team straight away but that’s no slight on him – it just means that Sunderland’s squad is an extremely strong one.