League One

Sunderland: Journalist drops claim on injury scenario

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Sunderland Echo journalist Phil Smith has praised the club for their recent run of form despite going through a raft of recent injuries.

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Smith believes the growing number of players in the treatment room is mostly down to bad luck, and with the Black Cats hauling themselves back into the mix for automatic promotion after a torrid run of results, he commended Lee Johnson’s side for navigating this tricky period.

Indeed, Sunderland find themselves fourth in the table, two points off the top, though Wigan Athletic, who currently occupy second place, have a game in hand.

However, they are still in a bit of a crisis, with Jordan Willis, Niall Huggins, Denver Hume, Dennis Cirkin, Aiden McGeady and Luke O’Nien all sidelined. To make things worse, four are set to miss the rest of 2021, while Willis and O’Nien don’t yet have an expected return date., which is certainly a worry for Sunderland.

Speaking to the Sunderland Echo’s The Roar Podcast, Smith gave his verdict on the crisis, saying:

“There’s definitely some credit due for having a five-game unbeaten run given the injuries. I think, obviously, it’s something you have to put into context in terms of someone didn’t sign a natural right-back in the summer.

“I think most people would have probably said they were potentially one central midfielder light. So I guess you could argue that it’s a little bit of their own making, in terms of they maybe just haven’t quite had the depth they needed in those positions.

“But obviously, there’s been a huge amount of misfortune. It’s not like we’re talking about, you know, muscle injuries, where you’re thinking ‘well, is the preparation right?’ It’s a demanding schedule and the vast majority of these have been contact injuries, which unfortunately, there’s just nothing you can do about.”

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TIF Thoughts on Phil Smith’s Sunderland verdict…

In hindsight, it’s easy to say what should have happened over the summer, but no one would have expected so many injuries.

The fact that Sunderland are still very much in the hunt for the League One title or automatic promotion is a very promising sign. If they’re keeping pace with injuries, then just imagine how good a charge could be with some January signings and players returning.

With that in mind, you can see why Smith seems sympathetic towards the team, especially with form improving as the transfer window approaches.

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