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Sunderland handed early injury boost ahead of Sheffield Wednesday clash

Sunderland have a couple of massive games ahead of them as the Black Cats are preparing to take on Sheffield Wednesday in two play-off semi-final clashes.

The first showdown is set to take place at the Stadium of Light on Friday evening before Alex Neil takes his side to Yorkshire for the second leg on Monday.

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Who scored the club's first goal of 2021?

Sunderland’s previous game saw them pick up a 1-0 win over Morecambe on Saturday thanks to a goal from Nathan Broadhead in the tenth minute.

The Wearside club have now not lost a game in the league since their 2-1 defeat against MK Dons back in February during the early days of Neil’s reign in charge of the side.

Looking ahead to the first-leg clash between the two sides aiming to reach the Championship, it seems as though the home side may have been handed an early injury boost that could increase their chances of securing a positive result.

What’s the news?

According to Chronicle Live, Wednesday midfielder Barry Bannan picked up a muscle injury during the late stages of their recent 4-1 win over Portsmouth.

This could be crucial for the Black Cats with the Owls midfielder proving one of their most influential players so far this term.

Great news for Neil

With 45 league appearances under his belt in this campaign, the 32-year-old has scored nine goals and provided 12 assists along the way, suggesting that the Yorkshire side will be without a vital attacking presence if his muscle problem keeps him out any longer.

To further highlight his creativity and how much of an attacking danger he is, only Sean McConville has completed more crosses (391) than the Owls captain (287).

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Having racked up more minutes for Wednesday than any other player, the midfielder is currently listed as the highest-rated member of Darren Moore’s squad according to WhoScored.

As well as this, his rating of 7.21/10 makes the Scotsman the 13th-highest rated player in the entire league.

Taking all of this into account, potentially being without the veteran in their side for Friday’s showdown will surely be a big blow.

From Sunderland’s point of view, however, the prospect of not having to deal with Bannan’s attacking talents would be great for Neil and his chances of seeing the Black Cats pick up a positive result.

Moving forward, whether the Owls star is fit enough to play or not, the 40-year-old will undoubtedly be wanting his side to go out and secure a win no matter what.

In other news: “Been offered a deal”: Journalist drops summer claim that’ll delight SAFC supporters

Article title: Sunderland handed early injury boost ahead of Sheffield Wednesday clash

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