This is a tricky time for everyone at Sunderland.
They may be unbeaten in their last two league matches but they now won’t play until after Boxing Day following an outbreak of Coronavirus within the squad.
Sunderland players are dropping like flies at the moment and it must have been a relief to have some of their games postponed until a later date.
The Academy of Light has been closed until 27th December with four players testing positive for the pandemic but they also have injuries to contend with.
Once this period of postponements is out the way they will at least have Lynden Gooch back in the side.
The American has only managed one substitute appearance under Lee Johnson and has just recovered from a broken foot that had ruled him out for around three weeks.
It’s superb news that the winger is back quicker than first imagined and this extra period of rest should do his recovery time wonders ahead of when Sunderland take on Accrington on the 29th.
If he is fully fit then Johnson simply has to play him from the off. Gooch has been one of Sunderland’s stand out players so far this season and has two goals and four assists in 13 appearances.
The 24-year-old has been the biggest source of joy from a creative point of view and thus, could improve what Johnson wants to do tenfold. This is someone Chris Coleman claimed “ran his socks off” when he was at the club and it would be quite something if Gooch provided Sunderland with even more.
Johnson has already spoken about wanting players who can stretch the play and the man in question is one of them. Just imagine what Gooch and Jack Diamond could do as a wing pairing beside the club’s top scorer Charlie Wyke.
Diamond has got off to an exhilarating start under Johnson and has already scored with the new coaching team at the helm, performing a team-high 1.6 dribbles per game in the process. For context, Gooch has managed a haul of 1.2 per match.
This would be a fearsome duo capable of lifting the Mackems to greater heights.