Sunderland have been handed a big injury relief over attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard this week…
Black Cats manager Alex Neil has revealed why the Englishman was absent against Oxford United and allayed any fears that he will now face an extended spell on the sidelines.
Goals from Corry Evans and Elliot Embleton sealed the three points for the side on Saturday to keep them in the playoff picture, whilst Pritchard was nowhere to be seen.
Neil told the Sunderland Echo: “We go it scanned and there’s a lateral issue there, but there’s not a big problem. I’m really hopeful that he’ll be involved for the next game, he just wasn’t quite ready.
“I’ve worked with Al before so when he tells you something is not quite right, it’s not.
“He trained earlier this week and he just said to me, ‘there’s something not quite right’,”
Supporters will surely be buzzing with this update from Neil as it comes as a major boost to the team heading into the final stretch of the campaign.
Pritchard has caught the eye since making the switch from Huddersfield last summer as he has established himself as one of the club’s top performers. Ross Stewart (7.26) is the only player with a higher average SofaScore rating than the midfielder (7.10) and this suggests that he has been consistently impressive throughout the season.
In 33 League One outings, he has produced four goals and seven assists. He has reason to feel hard done by in the assist department, however, as he has created 69 chances and eight ‘big chances’ over the course of the campaign so far, which indicates that his teammates have let him down at times as they have been unable to finish the openings he is creating.
The former Tottenham prospect has shown that he can change games by creating opportunities and splitting open defences in the final third. He has the magic touch on the ball and his statistics reflect that, whilst his average rating proves that he has been doing it on a consistent basis – making him a reliable option for Neil.
This is why fans will be delighted to read that he may be back in action for the club’s next match. Losing him for a number of games, and potentially the play-offs would have been a disaster because they would be missing out on his immense quality on the ball.