Sunderland boss explains Corry Evans call and outlines next steps for returning players

Mike Dodds says he will continue to be careful as he steps
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Corry Evans could return to the Sunderland squad for the visit of Blackburn Rovers to the Stadium of Light on Monday but Mike Dodds insists he will not rush any of the team's returning players back too quickly.

Dodds was able to name Patrick Roberts and Aji Alese on the bench at Cardiff City on Good Friday, but the team's excellent performance and dominant win meant the interim head coach did not need to turn to either of them. Bradley Dack did make his comeback in the latter stage of the game, and is in contention for more minutes this afternoon.

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Evans, who has not played since suffering an ACL injury against Middlesbrough last January, was with the squad in South Wales but was not named on the bench.

"We're getting options for Monday and beyond," Dodds said.

"Corry is desperate to be involved and sitting in this seat, you sometimes have to make decisions that right now, certain players probably won't understand if that's the right phrase to use. But I have a duty of care and Corry has been out for 13 months. He's training really, really well - he's a huge part of that dressing room which is why I asked him to travel with us for the Cardiff game.

"He's also only played two sets of 45 minutes in U21s football, so there has to be a level of patience with that. It's the same with Patrick [Roberts] who has had no minutes, been out for a while and only had one week of training. Aji has had 45 minutes in the U21s. They're fully part of the group now in training so I get the argument that they should play, but at the same time I have to get by bit right in terms of when and where we introduce them. Corry is in contention, he could have been in the squad at Cardiff and all those players are definitely in contention for the games going forward."

Sunderland's squad is expected to be otherwise unchanged for Blackburn's visit, with hope that Jack Clarke could be fit to return this weekend for Bristol City's visit.

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