Injured Sunderland duo Alex Pritchard and Nathan Broadhead “have recovered quicker than anticipated” and could be available for Saturday’s game against Gillingham, according to Alex Neil.
The pair have both been missing since the goalless draw against Charlton Athletic at the start of the month – with Pritchard suffering an ankle injury against the Addicks and a hamstring issue limiting Broadhead to just one appearance since December.
Speaking to club media, the Sunderland boss provided an exciting update on the recovery of both players.
“We were concerned that both would be long-term issues,” he explained. “But they have recovered quicker than anticipated.
“That’s great and both have been out on the grass this week, so we have hopefully seen flashes that they are coming back.”
The Black Cats host in-form Gillingham at the Stadium of Light on Saturday and Neil refused to rule out the pair being available.
He said: “Whether they will be back for this weekend’s game against Gillingham, I’m not quite sure, but they certainly aren’t far away.”
Pritchard joined on a free transfer in July and has become an important figure in his debut season at the club – scoring four times and providing 12 assists.
Everton loanee Broadhead has scored seven goals in 17 games in 2021/22, including five in five League One games before his injury in December.
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This is fantastic news from a Sunderland perspective.
Broadhead’s ongoing absence has been frustrating given he’d just started to find his feet before he initially suffered the injury but his return is made even more important after Jermain Defoe’s retirement.
Pritchard, meanwhile, has been a key creative player for the Black Cats this season and it was initially feared he could be set for a long spell on the sidelines.
Neil has refused the close the door on their return against the Gills and while he won’t want to rush them back, he’ll know just how important all three points would be with the play-off race tight and Neil Harris’ side in impressive form.
All eyes on the team news on Saturday.