Bailey Wright could be in contention to feature for Sunderland against Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night, according to Phil Smith of the Sunderland Echo.
The defender has been a long-term absentee after tearing his calf muscle back in February meaning that he’s spent a lengthy spell on the sidelines as a result.
Since then the 28-year-old has been working hard behind the scenes in a bid to get fit for a crucial stage in the club’s journey to secure promotion to the Championship.
Wright has been closing in on a return to action in recent weeks and was thought to be in contention to play for the under-23s in Monday’s clash with West Brom.
However according to Smith, the fact that he’s been left out of that side is an indication that he could now be part of Johnson’s squad to take on the Latics in League One on Tuesday evening.
LJ said on Friday that Bailey Wright could play in this, depending on what he needed for Tuesday night… https://t.co/mATesJxv5Z
— Phil Smith (@Phil__Smith) April 12, 2021
Responding to the under-23s team to face West Brom, Smith said: “Interesting team.
“Lee Johnson said on Friday that Bailey Wright could play in this, depending on what he needed for Tuesday night…”
The comments referred to by Smith came in Friday’s pre-Charlton Athletic press conference, in which Johnson said: “Bailey has been back in training today, which is nice to see,” said Johnson.
“We sat down with Bailey three or four days ago to go through a series of alternative plans.
“The good thing is that the injury has healed, that’s the most important thing because you don’t want to put a player out with a muscle injury when he could potentially not get through a game.
“He won’t be in the squad tomorrow (against Charlton), but he would be OK to be in the squad if we suddenly needed him.
“The aim is probably to have a look at giving him some minutes for the U23s on Monday, but again that will depend on our need ahead of the Tuesday game at Wigan.
“He is in a really good place and you always want Bailey Wright fit because he is a top, top character and he is as good as it gets as a human being – and not only that, he is a very good player.”
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What a boost this would be for Sunderland.
While Lee Johnson’s side have been defensively sound of late there’s no doubt that the absence of a player such as Bailey Wright has been a blow.
Whether he’s deemed fit to start against Wigan remains to be seen, but even for him to be in contention is massive.