Phil Parkinson has confirmed Sunderland forward Benjamin Kimpioka is expected to miss four months through a hamstring injury with surgery planned for next week, per the Sunderland Echo.
Kimpioka’s brace helped secure Sunderland their first U23s league win of the season in a 4-0 triumph over rivals Newcastle United, before another double in a 5-3 win over Fulham.
Sunderland’s U23s lead coach Elliott Dickman failed to see Kimpioka turn the ball home against Aston Villa, though the talented youngster provided an assist in the 2-0 victory before needing replacing through injury.
Initial assessments suggested the blow would deny Kimpioka any further involvement before the New Year, but further tests have revealed the need for surgery, ruling the academy product out deeper into 2021.
“Benji is going to have an operation on his hamstring next week,” Parkinson said. “Unfortunately, the specialist feels that it needs surgery.
“It’s a real shame for him because he had been playing well and had got goals in the U23s. As you can imagine, he’s pretty down about it, but we’ve just got to make sure he gets the best possible treatment so that he can come back ready to go again in three to four months.”
The blow will deny Kimpioka the chance of featuring in Tuesday night’s Papa John’s Trophy clash with Fleetwood Town, having been in line for his 15th first-team appearance and first of the current campaign.
“He would certainly have figured,” Parkinson added. “That was in our mind, to give him an opportunity. He’s done really well in the U23s, I watched the game against Aston Villa last week and he showed a good understanding of his role.”
Kimpioka’s form came after the talented Sweden U21 international penned a new one-year deal at the Stadium of Light, with an option of a further 12-months, after his previous terms expired in the summer.
Parkinson had hoped to see the 20-year-old kick on with the transfer sage now in the past, having urged the Black Cats product to put his undivided attention into his football.
“He’s got to start showing that he can be a player,” said Parkinson, via quotes by The Northern Echo. “Maybe the people advising him haven’t quite been giving him the right advice, but he’s a decent lad so let’s see if he can start running about and putting the ball in the back of the net.
“I said to him yesterday, there’s been a lot of talk about him – too much, in my view. I want Benji to let his football do the talking now. If he can push his way into the first-team picture, then great. If not, we’ll look to loan him out and do what we did with Jack Diamond last year, where he got that first-team exposure elsewhere.”
Kimpioka had certainly done enough to earn a look into the first-team, but that chance has now faded away through an injury he and Parkinson will hope does not put a dent in his development.