Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson says that Elliott Embleton is unlikely to feature for the Black Cats when they host MK Dons at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon.
Embleton made his first appearances of the season this week, coming off the bench in last Saturday’s FA Cup defeat to Mansfield, before playing the full 90 minutes of Tuesday night’s EFL Trophy loss to Fleetwood Town.
Those outings marked the midfielder’s return from a lengthy injury lay-off, although it seems Parkinson is reluctant to give him too big a workload, too soon.
Speaking to The Sunderland Echo about Embleton’s return to the side, Parkinson said: “Elliot is still a project going forward, really. As you can imagine, he was very stiff and sore after Tuesday night.
“The likelihood is that he won’t be involved this weekend, but there’s no fresh injury with that. It’s just that when you haven’t played for over a year, your body is going to take a while to recover.
“But we’re very pleased with him, and psychologically to get him through that game was huge.”
Another young player Parkinson was spoke about was Jack Diamond.
The versatile 20-year-old has made five appearances already this season, and discussing Diamond’s recent performances, the Sunderland boss revealed: “Jack we’ve been pleased with, he’s got real pace and power. There are areas of his game he’s got to get better at but you’d expect that for a young player.”
Discussing the progress made by the midfielder, Parkinson went on to add: “Dan is obviously a bit younger than the other two.
“He emerged on the scene in the pre-season, did really well and has now had three games at first-team level. That’s good progression for him. Dan hasn’t had as much, but he has been a real bonus for us.”
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It does seem sensible for Parkinson to look to keep Embleton out of action against MK Dons.
Having played so little football prior to this week, suddenly playing so much in a such a short space of time risks putting a strain on him that could lead to further, more damaging, setbacks.
That is something Parkinson will no doubt be keen to avoid, although the fact that he has several promising young players breaking into his side, such as the three discussed here, can only be a good thing for the club as they look to push on following a strong start to the League One season.