Jack Ross has praised George Honeyman’s determination to play for Sunderland but says they will have to carefully manage his ongoing ankle problem.
The Sunderland skipper was forced to miss the Boxing Day win over Bradford City in front of a bumper crowd with the problem.
Adam Matthews also missed the game with a calf problem that had also kept him out of the defeat at Portsmouth.
Ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Shrewsbury Town, Ross said: “We will assess George and Adam, the turnaround time is quite quick.
“There were no other obvious problems after the game so we will have at least the squad that we had available Boxing Day and in an ideal world one or two added to it.
“It is an ongoing ankle injury [for George], one he suffered against Barnsley.
“To his credit he has probably played when he shouldn’t have done because he is so determined to play.
“Him being ruled out Boxing Day was a sore one for him, you can imagine how he wanted to lead that team out.
“But we need to look after him. It is one that is difficult to predict, we will see how he is.”
Josh Maja had been a doubt through illness but led the line and performed well, Ross adding: “I felt he was good against Bradford, he did well, I was pleased with him.”
Ross favoured Bryan Oviedo over Reece James at left-back, a decision taken with the Bradford formation in mind.
Ross added: “It was partly how we felt the game would go, Bradford have played quite a narrow formation recently with a diamond.
“Within that system if you get it right, your full backs are a really good outlet for you, that suits Bryan.
“It suited Luke as well. It was based on that, really.
“Reece had been very good at Portsmouth. Bryan had been very good against Bristol Rovers here. Those little tweaks sometimes are just based on how you think you’d win the game.”