LIAM BRIDCUTT can plug Sunderland’s midfield gap in the crunch clash against Leicester City, insists Dick Advocaat.
Sunderland have been dealt a double injury blow on the eve of this weekend’s pivotal Stadium of Light encounter against the Foxes, with both Jordi Gomez and Wes Brown ruled out for the remainder of the season.
The loss of Gomez to a fractured knee cap is a significant blow to Sunderland boss Advocaat, in particular, given fellow midfielder Jack Rodwell remains on the treatment table with a hamstring problem.
Advocaat has indicated that he will opt for Bridcutt to take Gomez’s spot in the starting XI, rather than shoehorn Adam Johnson into a central midfield role.
Bridcutt has made just two substitute appearances under Advocaat’s tenure, but the ex-Holland manager believes the ex-Brighton man can provide Sunderland with some midfield bite in the battle against one of their relegation rivals.
Advocaat told the Echo: “ We have a squad of 20 players and if one player is not there, then another has to do the job.
Liam is quite aggressive and that’s what we really need nowDick Advocaat
“That’s the way it goes and there’s no sense in making it bigger and bigger.
“The player who will play, likes to play.
“OK, he’s a different type of midfielder, but Liam is quite aggressive and that’s what we really need now.”
Fit-again John O’Shea, who has recovered from sore ribs, will provide a like-for-like replacement for Brown at centre-half after the ex-England international suffered a recurrence of the knee injury which had kept him out for six weeks prior to his return at Everton last weekend.
The Everton win was the first game O’Shea has missed all season, and Advocaat has no worries about the Sunderland skipper, despite the 34-year-old only returning to training on Thursday.
“John O’Shea has to do it, but he feels fit,” added Advocaat.
“He is a man with a lot of experience, the captain, so why not?”