Alex Neil has revealed that Sunderland have been hit with a big injury setback over Alex Pritchard…
Black Cats reporter Phil Smith has relayed an update on the attacking midfielder from the head coach after his knock on Saturday.
The ex-Huddersfield and Norwich man was taken off in the 75th minute of the 0-0 draw with Charlton at the weekend and now looks set for a spell on the sidelines.
Smith Tweeted: “Alex Neil says Jermain Defoe was injured – not a major problem. Says the Alex Pritchard injury is his biggest concern – and that it doesn’t look good.”
This update will surely leave the Sunderland head coach scrambling as Pritchard being out for any length of time will be a major blow to his side.
He will need to re-jig his XI to account for the dazzling playmaker’s absence, as he has been a huge player for the club and it will be difficult to find a like-for-like replacement who can fill his shoes. The Englishman has averaged an impressive SofaScore rating of 7.08 in League One this season and this shows that he has been consistently delivering excellent performances throughout the campaign.
Pritchard has chipped in with four goals and seven assists in the division, whilst averaging an excellent 2.0 key passes per match – creating eight ‘big chances’. He has been a constant threat in the final third and has shown that he has the quality to be a difference-maker for the Black Cats with his direct goal contributions.
Elliot Embleton is also capable of playing in the number 10 role and has averaged a score of 6.84 and 1.3 key passes per game in the third tier so far – creating three ‘big chances’. This is a sizeable drop-off from Pritchard and illustrates exactly why Neil will be scrambling to find a solution to the problem as his absence will cause him a massive selection headache.
The ex-Blackpool loanee has not been able to match last summer’s signing in terms of the creativity that he is able to provide from midfield and Sunderland look set to sorely miss his ability on the ball in the coming weeks. It remains to be seen exactly how long he will be out for, but the statistics show that it will be a major blow for every game that he misses due to the huge impact he has had throughout the season.