Sunderland coach James Fowler has given a mixed injury update ahead of the midweek game. Following the weekend’s 1-1 draw with Bolton Wanderers, Fowler has addressed the media and given an update on the fitness of his squad, the club’s official website reports.
There is good and bad news for Sunderland fans with injuries to key players but potential debuts. Sunderland travel to Bramall Lane for an EFL Cup clash with Premier League side Sheffield United and could rotate their options.
McGeady and Willis out; Ozturk doubtful
After scoring a late equaliser on Saturday, star man Aiden McGeady is out. The Irishman will not be risked in the cup and he will be saved for the home clash with MK Dons next weekend.
Summer signing Jordan Willis is also set to miss out. The ex-Coventry City defender has been a mainstay in Jack Ross’ defence and his centre-back partner Alim Ozturk is also a doubt.
Fowler said: “We will look at a couple of changes, with boys from the weekend still struggling and Alim still has a knock too so we will monitor that. The squad isn’t massive at the moment anyway, so I think the boys who aren’t involved will be on the bench and some of the under-23s might make the squad as well.
“I think Aiden will miss out. I think he’s a definite. Jordan Willis is another who we’re just keeping an eye on.”
When facing up against Premier League opposition, Sunderland need their best players available. Without Willis and Ozturk, the defence looks weak. And without McGeady, the Black Cats might struggle to find that spark.
De Bock and Lynch could make debuts
The good news for Sunderland fans is that Wednesday night could provide two new signings with their debuts. Laurens De Bock and Joel Lynch are both in contention for a place in the squad after improving their match fitness over the past few weeks.
Lynch is a central defender who joined on a free transfer after leaving QPR last season. Meanwhile, De Bock provides an extra option at left-back after his late-summer loan switch from Leeds.
Fowler added: “That means Lynch and De Bock have got an opportunity to be part of the squad. We’ve been keen to get them involved, so Wednesday night will provide that for them.”
Sunderland should be trying to fast-track De Bock into this team now. The Belgian has experience in Europe and in the Championship. Now, he needs to be replacing Denver Hume in the starting line-up.
Lynch is vastly experienced in the Championship and that could be invaluable for Sunderland over a long season. He will almost certainly get a chance with Willis and Ozturk out. But he will be thrown into the deep end – how will he cope against Premier League strikers?