Sunderland boss David Moyes won't hear any tired excuses
Sunderland's squad has been stretched to it's very limit this season.
In fact, the Black Cats sit on top of the Premier League’s injury table, with Jordan Pickford’s knee problem moving them into double figures.
Vito Mannone, who has missed much of the season himself with elbow damage, will come in for the player of the season so far at Burnley this afternoon.
The Sunderland squad at Manchester United last Monday featured three of the club’s talented young brigade – Joel Asoro, Elliott Embleton and George Honeyman.
Boss David Moyes has welcomed back Javier Manquillo, Steven Pienaar and Jack Rodwell back to training after injury to give him more experienced options.
“We have a small group, on Boxing Day we had as tight a squad as we’ve had and we had a number of young players in our 18,” said Moyes.
“We have Javier, Steven and Jack doing a bit of training, so those lads coming back into it will help.”
The Cats chief says the injury disruptions have been frustrating and it has meant there has been no chance of any squad rotation during a heavy period of matches.
But he does not want to hear fatigue being used as an excuse.
“I don’t expect to hear any excuses from the players and I don’t want to be making any myself,” he said.
“I expect them to win.
“Do they say they are tired? I’m sure they are. Do they say they are playing more games than they expected to? They should be glad they are.
“If someone gets injured then another player gets a opportunity.”
Moyes is looking for his players, tired or otherwise, to continue the form which has brought them 12 points from a possible 24. “There has been an improvement and we will improve again as we go on,” he said.
“I have no doubt about that, we will go through peaks and troughs at times but the job now is to build on the four good wins we have had recently, two or three good performances.
“We have had the odd bad one, Swansea, but in the main if we can build on what we are doing and build on this level it will give us a great chance of staying up.”