Everything is incredibly rosy at Sunderland right now. They have a new owner in Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and they are within touching distance of promotion.
The Mackems sit in third place but, with two games in hand, they could rise to the summit of League One in the near future. That could take them to a deserved place in the Championship, a moment which would cap off a season in which they finally broke their trophy drought.
There are only a handful of matches left now and, on Friday lunchtime, Lee Johnson had some news which will come as music to the ears of Sunderland supporters.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, he shared a positive update on the injury front by saying: “A lot of players were training today which is good. It’s a very difficult team selection because of that. There’s a lot of players fit and confident.”
Johnson added: “We’ve got Bailey Wright back in training as well today which was nice to see so there’s many positives. At the same time, there’s total focus to what is a really big game.”
Considering how long the centre-back has been sidelined, it’s unlikely that he’ll be fit enough to start on Saturday when the Mackems face Charlton. That being said, it’s quite pleasing that he’s back among the group ahead of the promotion run-in.
The Australian had only missed one match this term before getting injured, so he is clearly an important fixture in the Black Cats’ side. His return will have left the manager quite excited, although Johnson could now have a large selection headache.
After all, Dion Sanderson and Luke O’Nien have been near-impeccable as a centre-half pairing. Since Wright’s injury, Sunderland have kept seven clean sheets in the league.
A dilemma could therefore be on the cards in the coming weeks. Does the manager bring Wright back into the starting XI and move O’Nien further forward? That’s certainly one option he could consider.
Johnson may also choose to move Sanderson to full-back, a role in which he has already played this season.
Either way, news of Wright’s return can only be seen as a positive. He could bring vital leadership skills to the table during the closing weeks of the campaign as promotion potentially draws near.