INJURIES were added to insult for Sunderland at the weekend, with both James McClean and Adam Johnson reporting problems in the wake of their team’s lacklustre display at Manchester City, writes GRAEME ANDERSON.
No long-term damage is expected to Johnson after the England winger was taken ill at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
But McClean could miss out on the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifiers against Germany and the Faroe Islands after suffering a tightening in his groin.
The former Derry City winger was due to undergo a scan on his groin today, but what might prove bad news for him if he is ruled out, could prove better for his Sunderland team-mate David Meyler, who was added to the Irish squad on Friday night.
A spokesman for the Football Association of Ireland confirmed: “James McClean reported a very tight groin after his match and will be scanned.”
Johnson, meanwhile, received medical treatment in the dressing room at the Etihad after being sick following his substitution.
The 25-year-old was subdued against his former employers on Saturday and was clearly out of sorts.
Manager Martin O’Neill said: “I hadn’t realised that he had a problem until my attention was drawn to the fact he was signalling to come off.
“Clearly he had a problem, though.
“He was feeling unwell and was vomiting in the dressing room afterwards and had to be attended to by the medical people.”
One international who is fine to link up with his country is Steven Fletcher – due to make a return to the Scotland ranks after settling his differences with manager Craig Levein last week.
A posse of Scottish journalists were at the Manchester City game on Saturday to see him have very little opportunity to add to the five goals he has scored for Sunderland so far this season.
O’Neill told them: “Steven Fletcher’s confidence is very high, despite what happened against City and his presence will be a big boost for Scotland.
“He’s a goalscorer and he can bring players into the game. He’s strong and he’s a clever player.
“He might not be lightning quick, but he’s got a good brain and he knows what he’s doing.
“I just hope Scotland can provide him with better service than we did against City.”