'A huge blow!': Lee Johnson handed TWO injury concerns as he names his Sunderland team to face Plymouth
Losing one of them was bad enough – but both?
Aiden McGeady and Charlie Wyke have at times been simply unplayable this term. You don’t have to cast your mind too far back to that Doncaster Rovers game, where the duo combined to devastating effect to cut apart a team who (at the time) were flying high
So for the pair to be missing as Sunderland head to Plymouth Argyle – in a game that Lee Johnson’s side really need to win – is nothing short of a huge blow.
We know too well the influence that McGeady can have on the team, but the Black Cats will no doubt take some confidence from the fact that they performed well in his absence at Hull City earlier this month.
That the winger is present at Home Park is also hopefully a suggestion that the broken nose and foot swelling ruling him out of this game is not a serious one.
And here’s hoping it’s a similar situation with Wyke and his thigh problem, whose goals have been crucial to Sunderland’s better moments of the term.
He will undoubtedly be a miss, but this is a fine chance for Ross Stewart to show exactly why the club shelled out a six-figure sum to land him in January.
We have only seen flashes from the Scot so far, but you could argue that his chances have been limited. This is a huge opportunity for him to stake a claim ahead of the potential play-off campaign.
Elsewhere, it’s pleasing to see Conor McLaughlin back in the side after injury, and his presence will undoubtedly help to shore up a defence that has shipped six goals in its last three matches.
His return also allows skipper Max Power to push higher up the field, where his energy and industry could yield greater effect.
It’s not the team Sunderland fans would have expected, but it’s one containing plenty of players with a point to prove.
Hopefully that proves to be a good thing.
Sunderland XI: Burge; McLaughlin, Wright, O’Nien, Hume; Scowen, Power; Diamond, Gooch, Jones; Stewart
Sunderland subs: Matthews, Maguire, O’Brien, Winchester, Leadbitter, McFadzean, Younger