Michael Bowers has been speaking on The Roar podcast about Arbenit Xhemajli’s return to the Sunderland side.
The Black Cats have been able to relax during the current international period, with their game against Oxford United being called off due to having players away on international duty, and that means Lee Johnson’s side have had a much-deserved break and been able to reset mentally, having just been battered 4-0 away to Portsmouth.
Is Lee Johnson the man to lead Sunderland back into the Championship?
Someone who may be able to hand Johnson a boost in defence – which they may need considering they’ve shipped six goals in their last two games – is Xhemajli, who featured for the first time in over a year when he lined up against Lincoln City in the Papa John’s Trophy.
Bowers has been speaking about what he thinks about the return of Xhemajli.
He said: “I think Lee Johnson’s going to love him. If he’s a ball-playing centre-half, and we love to try and get the ball out from the back, which is what we tend to try and do anyway, then I think he’s going to suit it to a T.
“Obviously, you can’t get more unlucky with that, I think the injury was something along the lines of eight, nine months or whatever it was, and obviously, it’s pretty much been a year since it’s happened and he’s only just starting to come back now.
“I mean, he’s someone that I’m quite keen to see. When we signed him up there was quite a lot of hype around him, actually, so it’ll be interesting to see whether he can match up to that.”
TIF Thoughts on Xhemajli…
The Kosovo defender was signed back in September 2020 but is still yet to make his debut in the league, but considering Sunderland had the third-best defence inside the league last season, they didn’t appear to have missed his services.
Given how long Xhemajli has been out of the side, it will undoubtedly take a while for him not only to regain match sharpness, but to also gain Lee Johnson’s trust to throw him into a league game with the Black Cats performing generally well this campaign.