Seb Larsson close to first-team contention, says Sunderland coach Andy Welsh

Seb Larsson
Seb Larsson
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Sunderland midfielder Seb Larsson will soon be in contention for first-team football, says Under-23s coach Andy Welsh.

The experienced Swede played the first 45 minutes in last night’s Premier League Cup win for the U23s against Blackburn at Eppleton CW, on his earlier-than-expected return from medial ligament damage.

Welsh described Larsson’s performance as “very good”, “very bright” and “sharp”.

“Seb had a little chat with the lads before the game and at half-time and the plan was for him to do 45 minutes,” revealed Welsh.

“He won a lot of second balls, as he would do because of his experience, and I’m sure he will be back soon.

“The plan now is to give him a little bit more time in our EFL Trophy game next week against Notts County at the Stadium and then hopefully he will be around the first team if the manager needs him after that.”

On the overall display in a win which took Sunderland top of their group in the Premier League Cup, Welsh added: “First half, we played well, we had some really good chances that we didn’t convert, but we went in one (ahead at half-time).

“We had two or three first-half (chances) and I thought they had a couple of really good chances. James Talbot made a good save from a point blank header – that was a good chance.

“Second half, they were strong, played a lot of channelled balls and we had to defend and dig deep, but it’s nice to get a win.

“We showed a little bit of naivety. We chased the ball instead of maybe slowing them down a little bit and that’s something we will need to look at for the Notts County game on Wednesday.”

Sunderland U23s need a point against League Two club Notts County to secure progress in the EFL Checkatrade Trophy, but defeat would end the Black Cats’ interest in the competition.