What a strange time this is for Sunderland.
The Black Cats are at the centre of a potential takeover and they have just hired a new manager in Lee Johnson.
However, they now won’t play for a fortnight with their next three games were postponed.
Just as the positivity had been reinstalled at the Stadium of Light after their 4-0 win over Lincoln, proceedings in the north-east have become rather depressing again.
Because of an outbreak of COVID-19 within the squad, the Academy of Light has been shut until December 27th with a variety of players now having to self isolate.
Four players have tested positive for the pandemic which has only added to an ongoing list of fitness concerns within the squad.
Denver Hume is currently out injured while Luke O’Nien has a dislocated shoulder and is out until the New Year.
However, they received another damaging blow this week when Johnson revealed that Josh Scowen could miss as many as seven weeks with a shin injury.
It really does feel as though Sunderland players are dropping like flies at the moment.
Fortunately for the Black Cats, they do have a number of midfield players available to them. With Max Power ruled out against Wimbledon, George Dobson came back into the XI and was paired next to the ever-reliable and ever-consistent Grant Leadbitter.
Though, with Scowen missing they needed to find another midfielder from somewhere.
That happened to be Elliot Embleton, a man who usually prefers to play in more advanced roles. The 21-year-old had a serious hamstring injury last season which meant he didn’t play at all for Sunderland and to this day, he has still only featured on 16 occasions for the first-team.
He’s never truly had a consistent run to establish himself as a regular but now with a host of players out and lacking fitness, his chance could arrive.
It’s unfortunate the youngster never really got an opportunity under Jack Ross or Phil Parkinson. After all, the former held him in high esteem. “Embleton has been terrific since he came back for pre-season. You can see what he can provide in the final third, so I was pleased with that,” Ross commented in July 2019.
Of course, his season was ruined by injury last term but he is now fully fit and has developed nicely.
If we see more of that, it’s likely Embleton will be in the team more. He definitely deserves a run.
In other news, Johnson must unleash Sunderland talent with “magic feat”…