UNLESS there is a big improvement in the condition of their flu victims in the next 24 hours, it seems likely that Sunderland will be asking the Football League for permission to postpone their visit to Orient on Saturday. A decision will be made tomorrow after reactions to today’s light training sessions have been studied and club medical adviser Dr Jim Scott has given his views.
In terms of numbers, yesterday’s roll call was very good, with practically a full scale turn-out. But secretary Ron Linney said: “Many of them are still very weak and it is extremely doubtful whether they will be fit to travel and play at the weekend.”
No fewer than 17 players have been affected and there appears to be no chance of having a match-fit team available for the important game against Orient, who are level on points with Sunderland, but have played three more games.
Huddersfield Town, who were hit by a flu outbreak in mid-December, were allowed to postpone two Saturday games and they still had after-effects when they resumed on December 23, to suffer a 3–1 home defeat against Hull City.
Mr Lindsey has been in touch with club manager Mr Bob Stokoe, who is being kept of developments while he recuperates from his severe attack at his St Anne’s home. Mr Stokoe, who was the club’s first flu victim, was a little brighter today, but there is still some doubt whether he will be back in circulation again by the weekend.
“He has had a very bad time of it,” said Mr Linney and there is so much concern about his condition that the doctor had to be called in again on Christmas Day. He says his head is still swimming and he is still ‘chesty’ but feels brighter now than at any time since he first took ill.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on December 27 1972.