Chris Maguire is one step closer to a return to fitness, so could he be Sunderland’s secret weapon at Wembley?
Sunderland’s Maguire is “back running”, club captain George Honeyman confirmed this week.
The 30 year-old has missed the last few games with a leg injury, but there has been very little information from the club on the extent of the damage.
As well as Honeyman’s revelation, Maguire took part in a Black Cats’ promotional photo shoot for the trip to Wembley, which was revealed on the official Checkatrade Trophy Twitter account.
Well, players can take weeks to return to first team action even after getting back on the training pitch, but the Checkatrade final against Portsmouth is not until the end of the month, so the Scottish international does have time on his side.
Even more telling is the pre-Wembley photo shoot, as it seems very unlikely the winger would be involved if he wasn’t in with a shot of playing on March 31st.
Add to that the fact that the club have been quite coy over the 30 year-old’s condition – is Jack Ross plotting a surprise for Portsmouth?
If Maguire is fit to play, his ability to create something out of nothing completely changes the tale of the game.
Cup finals can often be cagey affairs, and they are usually decided by either a crucial mistake or a moment of magic. Maguire is more than capable of producing the latter.
He has bagged seven goals and seven assists during his first season on Wearside, with a couple of those goals certainly in the conversation for goal of the season.
And if the Scotsman returns to score another stunner at Wembley, then Ross and the club have played an absolute blinder by keeping his return so quiet.