Lee Johnson’s time as Sunderland boss has been plagued with injuries to some of his key players.
This has all happened while Tom Flanagan and Conor McLaughlin nurse different problems.
Unfortunately, Johnson had yet more bad news on the injury front on Friday afternoon. Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Blackpool, the manager confirmed that Dion Sanderson would miss the game with a back problem.
The centre-back hasn’t suffered a fracture which means he could still return before the end of the season.
There was more bad news on Flanagan, however, who is set for more time on the sidelines.
Johnson said: “I don’t quite have the same positivity in that news. He’s had this problem with his foot which we discussed last time. Actually last time I came out with quite a positive statement and positive news. I then walked straight back into the staffroom to get caught by quite a lot of negativity from the physio based on that third opinion.”
The boss continued: They’re going to treat it as a bonus issue with the foot and they still haven’t decided the course of remedy. It could be an injection, it could be time or it could be a potential operation.
“I think it will probably go down the injection route to try and snuff out this issue which is causing the mechanics of the left-side to be completely different which is why he pulled his left hamstring and had his problems with his left hip flexor so it all stems from that initial broken foot.”
After Sanderson’s problem, this news will have left the 39-year-old absolutely gutted.
Sunderland’s main issue last weekend was undoubtedly from a defensive point of view. They were the definition of a shambles from set-plays which allowed Wigan to score two goals.
Wright had to be rushed back into the XI and with the O’Nien and Sanderson combination split up, things didn’t go well.
Thus, the idea that Flanagan won’t be able to help the team with the Wolves loanee missing is a bitter pill to swallow.
In recent weeks it looked as though the centre-back was improving but his injury could go as far as an operation in the worst-case scenario.
Johnson now has little option but to continue playing Wright, presumably alongside O’Nien. They will have to significantly improve if they want to secure promotion.