Sunderland have a hefty injury list to contend with ahead of this evening’s hosting of relegation threatened Lincoln City.
Corry Evans was added to the treatment table after being forced off in the club’s 3-3 draw at Wycombe Wanderers last time out.
The injury is not as bad as first feared for the Northern Irishman but he will miss the Black Cats’ chance to inflict revenge on the Imps, who beat them at the play-off semi final stage last term.
Lee Johnson was more optimistic about one player than the rest on the sidelines going into the game when he spoke to ChronicleLive.
He said: “All we can do is pray, really. I don’t think we’ll have any injuries back, but I’m not sure. Maybe Aiden O’Brien can play a part, we’ll just have to see.
“The boys have got to recover, and we go again. We’re on the right path, we keep going, we stay strong, and we’ll keep trying to improve.”
Not the most optimistic words from the manager and after the Imps looked back to their best in a 2-0 win over Oxford United at the weekend, the Black Cats will need be on their game to ensure they get the victory to put the pressure back on the teams around them.
Quiz: Can you name which club Sunderland signed these 28 midfielders from?
Aiden O’Brien will offer a lot to Johnson if he is fit for selection this evening. The attacking midfielder has not featured since the 5-1 defeat at Arsenal and can be deployed in more than one position of Johnson’s current 4-2-3-1 formation.
The 28-year-old is a specialist number ten but he can do a job out wide and also through the middle.
Bringing the best out of Ross Stewart appears to be Sunderland’s most reliable way to push for automatic promotion this term and O’Brien’s presence in the attacking contingent should contribute towards achieving that.
The Republic of Ireland international has five goals in all competitions this season and will be hoping to show Johnson in the coming weeks that he does not need to source attacking reinforcements this month.