Sunderland have been issued a huge injury lift over attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard after he was absent on Monday…
Black Cats boss Alex Neil has explained why he was not in the squad for the clash with Plymouth and provided hope for the final three matches of the campaign.
He told the Sunderland Echo: “What we couldn’t do is risk him, the last thing I want to do is put him on for 20 minutes, he breaks back down and we then miss him for the next week.
“We’re at a stage now where if you are out for any period of time, you miss all the remaining games.
“I’m very, very hopeful that if we get a good week, well three days under his belt [before Saturday], then let’s see how he goes for the next week.”
Supporters will be delighted with this news as Pritchard’s return will be a major boost for the club ahead of a crucial set of games.
The Black Cats are one point above Sheffield Wednesday, having played one match more, in the race for a play-off position and are two points off fourth with a game in hand on fifth and fourth. This means that they have a big chance to land in the top six by the end of the campaign and their clashes with Cambridge, Rotherham and Morecambe.
Therefore, Pritchard coming back is vital for Neil as he has the quality to unlock defences. Sunderland struggled badly in the final third without him against Plymouth on Monday as they failed to create any clear-cut chances to score, managing two shots on target in the 0-0 draw.
In League One this season, the Englishman has created 2.1 chances per game and provided eight ‘big chances’ in 33 outings. This shows that he has regularly been delivering in the final third in terms of being able to create openings for his teammates, which would have helped the likes of Nathan Broadhead and Ross Stewart earlier this week.
The 28-year-old has the magic touch on the ball, with four goals and seven assists this term, and can be the difference-maker as Sunderland fight for a play-off position. This is why the fans will be buzzing to read Neil’s ‘hopeful’ comments regarding his current injury situation as he can play a huge role in the team in the coming weeks.