Sunderland have been handed a major boost regarding the fitness of Denver Hume.
In recent comments cited by Chronicle Live, Lee Johnson revealed that the left-back, who has not featured for the Black Cats since their semi-final first-leg play-off defeat against Lincoln City last season, is close to returning to first-team action after recovering from his hamstring injury – although the fixture against Fleetwood Town this weekend will come too soon for the 23-year-old.
However, the 40-year-old manager claimed that Hume could be set to feature for the club’s U23 side on Monday, stating: “There could be a chance. I’d have to speak to Denver and to the physios, but there is a possibility of that [him being involved].
“The question is whether it would be more beneficial for him to have 30 minutes for the U23s or to have a good hour, hour and ten minutes, training session with the first team.
“Probably at this stage, it would be better for him to have more minutes in training and then maybe the week after we will look at integrating him into those games.”
Considering just how important a part of the Sunderland team Hume has been in recent seasons, the fact that the 23-year-old looks to be nearing a return to first-team action is sure to have left Johnson buzzing.
Indeed, over his 24 League One appearances last term, the left-back highly impressed for the Black Cats, scoring one goal, registering two assists and creating two big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 0.7 shots and making 1.3 key passes per game.
The defender also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 0.6 interceptions, 1.3 tackles, 0.7 clearances and winning 4.1 duels per match.
As such, it would certainly appear as if the sooner the 23-year-old returns the better for the Black Cats, with the player’s addition to the club’s current options only appearing to strengthen Sunderland’s promotion credentials this season.