Sunderland’s Johnson faces fitness D-Day

Adam Johnson
Adam Johnson
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ADAM Johnson should discover today whether he has a chance of featuring in Saturday’s Stadium of Light clash with Liverpool.

Johnson returned to the Academy of Light for treatment last Thursday after a training ground injury on international duty saw him ruled out of England’s opening two World Cup qualifiers.

The 25-year-old has responded well to his work with Sunderland’s medical team and he was able to join recovering casualties Wes Brown and Phil Bardsley in some running yesterday.

But the resumption of full training today, when Sunderland’s first-team squad reconvenes after the international break, will be the acid test for Johnson and his chances of featuring in the Black Cats’ first home league encounter of the campaign.

Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill told the Echo: “It would be great if Johnson was fit for Saturday.

“He came back pretty well immediately after he felt the injury.

“He seems to be doing a bit better and he did a bit of training with Wes Brown and Phil Bardsley yesterday.

“He’s always optimistic so we’ll see how he gets on over the next few days.

“Today we should be in a better position to see how things are, once everyone is back from the international break.”

Johnson would not have been eligible for Sunderland’s scheduled first Stadium of Light outing of the campaign - the rained off clash with Reading - after the Black Cats were unable to complete his £10million signing in time for the registration deadline.

But the capture of the former Manchester City winger created a buzz around Wearside and O’Neill believes that will still be in place this weekend against a Liverpool side who have taken just one point from their opening three games.

“I’m sure that spark will still be there and the crowd will respond to the players,” he added.

“I think Adam was praying the Reading game would be off so I think he was the rain-maker!

“But I’m sure the crowd will be every bit as enthused about it against Liverpool. It’s a great fixture for us.”