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Sunderland: Trai Hume must replace Lyndon Gooch

Sunderland picked up an impressive 2-1 win over promotion hopefuls Blackburn Rovers on Boxing Day but Tony Mowbray will be concerned by injuries picked up by the Black Cats.

Both Dennis Cirkin and Lyndon Gooch were forced off after picking up knocks at the Stadium of Light, while Ajibola Alese was missing from the squad with another issue.

Mowbray spoke about the severity of the injuries following the win against the Lancashire outfit, and it seems as if Gooch will be missing for a couple of fixtures at least, which could pave the way for Trai Hume to establish himself as the new starting right-back for the Black Cats.

Mowbray said: “Gooch has got a big icepack on his hamstring, so I would suggest that doesn’t look good for these next two games at this stage. Dennis took a kick on the outside of his knee and was struggling to plant his foot and push off – we will have to see and likely have a scan on that.”

The USA international has been reinvigorated as a full-back in Mowbray’s side so far this season, featuring 18 times in the Championship, in which he has contributed one goal and two assists, averaging a solid 6.68 rating from WhoScored for his performances.

With fellow right-back option Luke O’Nien continuing to impress at centre-back, it could be finally time for Hume to get regular opportunities under Mowbray, with the 20-year-old boasting just nine first-team appearances to his name in nearly a year with the Black Cats.

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The former Linfield man has started just twice in the second tier so far this season but caught the eye in the 2-1 win over Birmingham City ahead of the World Cup break.

Mowbray said: “He’s really good in the air and has got an amazing spring. He’s very determined, you see him blocking a shot late on and how excited about it he is, about showing what he can do.

“He has been on the periphery, we have gone with Gooch and then with O’Nien and he probably did feel like he was the third right-back. With Huggins coming back he will be thinking [about where he stands] but if he plays like that he is going to be first-choice.”

The games come thick and fast over the Christmas and New Year period and following the setback to Gooch, it is surely time for Hume to get another opportunity to start under Mowbray, as it seems clear that he has a big future at the Stadium of Light if he can continue to impress at such a young age.