Lee Johnson has revealed that Grant Leadbitter will be available for Sunday’s Papa John’s Trophy final against Tranmere Rovers.
The Sunderland skipper has been out of action of late after suffering a dislocated shoulder and looked set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines as a result.
However Johnson confirmed that the midfielder could be involved in the showpiece event – giving him the opportunity to lift a trophy for his hometown club.
As quoted by Chronicle Live, Johnson said: “I really think Grant is ready to play.
“I care for the human, as well as the relentless decisions you have to make as a manager.
“Grant will be in the squad. He has trained for the last three or four days, and he has tried to get up close and personal to test his shoulder out, and he has looked good.
“He’s got a light brace on his shoulder just to protect him in certain movements, but I think he will be OK and I wouldn’t have any fears about putting him on the pitch.”
The news wasn’t quite as good with regard to Aiden O’Brien and Jordan Jones.
The duo are said to be suffering with minor injuries and while they could be ready, Johnson is reluctant to take any unneccessary risks.
He said: “We’ll have a look at Aiden. We’ll try and leave it as long as possible.
“We’re not sure about Jordan – he’s a bit like Aiden.
“We’ll give him a fitness test, but he is probably less likely to be available.”
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Johnson also provided an update on Conor McLaughlin, Bailey Wright and Denver Hume, with the former likely to be in contention against Tranmere.
He said: “Conor should be back if we need him, but Bailey is out.
“There’s no setback for Bailey, but it was always going to be a tight timescale.
“Because we’ve had so many games, it feels like he has been out for a long time but what you have to remember is that he had a grade three calf strain and he has been out for less than 20 days!
“We tried to leave it until yesterday to see if he could do it, and it was OK but it really just needs that little bit longer to heal.
“Denver is nearly there, this game will probably come just a bit too soon for him but I have been very pleased with his movement and progression over the last few weeks.”
It’s great news that Grant Leadbitter looks set to be involved.
He’s a vital part of Sunderland’s squad and as a hometown lad we know just how much winning a trophy will mean to him.
The other injury concerns are a blow, but surely the Black Cats will be keeping half an eye on the League One promotion race as that surely has to be the priority.