Lee Johnson has revealed that Sunderland have welcomed back ‘three or four’ players to training after a health scare.
The Black Cats have endured a heavily affected festive period after 14 members of the playing squad and staff tested positive for COVID-19.
As a result Sunderland haven’t played a fixture since facing AFC Wimbledon at the Stadium Of Light on December 15.
The Wearsiders return to action against Northampton Town, and according to Johnson, he’s beginning to see some sort of normality as the club get back to on-field matters.
As quoted by the Sunderland Echo, Johnson said: “The three or four that were struggling have bounced back, and the last couple of days we’ve had relative consistency on the training pitch.
“It is a concern, because it’s so unchartered.
“We’ve got one player where I’ve made the decision personally, and he’s not happy with it but he understands it, that it’s not quite right.
“He had a bit of a double-dip where he came back and then struggled again, and at that point I made the decision we had to protect his long-term health and he’s been omitted from the squad.
“We’ve got a duty of care to the lads, we’re asking them to go the extra mile and sometimes put their families at risk, really.”
Quiz: Have any of these 22 players ever been in Sunderland’s academy?
Lee Johnson is taking the correct stance here.
While football is clearly important, there’s nothing more important than the health of those affected.
Sunderland need to support their players and so if that means giving them more time to recover and get back to themselves then that is the best thing.