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Lee Johnson provides Sunderland team news update ahead of Portsmouth test



Sunderland will be looking to end a three game winless run in League One when they host Portsmouth on Saturday.

The pair have developed a bit of a rivalry in recent years, with Portsmouth beating the Black Cats in the 2018/19 Papa John’s Trophy final on penalties before Sunderland got the better of Pompey in the play-offs a few months later.

The Black Cats have picked up their fair share of fitness issues in the last few weeks as the fixture schedule intensifies, and Lee Johnson explained the extent of that when he spoke to ChronicleLive.

He said: “We must have had about nine little contact injuries in training yesterday – I must have run over a black cat or something.

“Corry Evans didn’t feature against Accrington but we hope he will be available again this weekend.

“It’s like a juggling act at the moment, and as we stand today I couldn’t tell you the team or the shape – we’re going to have to be flexible going into that Portsmouth game.”

Luke O’Nien has been a notable absentee in the last couple of months, but the 27-year-old appears to be on the road to a remarkable recovery considering the extent of the shoulder injury he suffered.

Johnson continued: “Luke was back out running and if you listen to Luke, who is a very positive character and full of beans, he’s hoping to come back quicker than anyone else has ever come back from that type of injury – and I wouldn’t put it past him, to be honest.”

It will be a cracking atmosphere at the Stadium of Light on Saturday with the Black Cats hoping that a victory can push them back into the automatic promotion places.

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O’Nien will be an enormous boost for Johnson to have back available.

The former Wycombe Wanderers man can cover so many different positions without a noticeable drop in performance level, which gives Johnson added tactical flexibility in his preparation and during a game.

There is even more importance on Saturday’s fixture due to the kind matches the other sides in the top two chasing quartet have in front of them.

Wycombe go to Morecambe, Rotherham United host Cheltenham Town and Wigan Athletic welcome Gilingham.

This one could go one of two ways, dropping points while the other trio take the maximum could see scenes of frustration from the stands at the final whistle, the Black Cats must keep the supporters onside and find a way to get past Danny Cowley’s men.

Passionate Football League obsessive and long-suffering Charlton Athletic supporter.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Lee Johnson provides Sunderland team news update ahead of Portsmouth test

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