Jamie McAllister gives Sunderland injury and fitness update ahead of League One kick-off

Sunderland are hopeful that the majority of the absentees from their 2-1 win over Hull City will be fit for the visit of Wigan Athletic next Saturday.

Saturday, 31st July 2021, 12:00 pm

The Black Cats' squad was struck in the build-up to their final pre-season friendly by an outbreak of gastroenteritis, which left head coach Lee Johnson unable to attend.

Bailey Wright was one of the players who missed out, while Luke O'Nien and Elliot Embleton were both substituted in the second half as a consequence of the outbreak.

Assistant head coach Jamie McAllister confirmed afterwards that Lee Burge, who missed out entirely, and Corry Evans, who was replaced at the break, both were suffering from injury concerns.

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Sunderland goalkeeper Lee Burge

McAllister, however, believes that both will be fit for the opening day of the League One campaign.

Aiden McGeady was another absentee, though that was due to a pre-planned injection for tendonitis in the knee. The winger is expected to be fit next week.

"Lee Burge had a little injury," McAllister said.

"But it was more precautionary really, if it had been a league game we could probably have forced the issue.

"He just jarred his elbow in training a little bit, he should be OK.

"It's one of those where we just had to be careful, and it was the same with Corry Evans who came off at half time just with a little twinge.

"Obviously a few of the lads have been struggling a little with the illness, Luke and Elliot were certainly in that category and we just had to look after them."

Alex Pritchard is still working towards full fitness after seeing his pre-season preparations setback by a positive COVID-19 test.

As it stands he is highly unlikely to play a significant part next weekend.

Sunderland remain hopeful of adding to their squad before the visit of Leam Richardson's side, with full backs an obvious priority.

The Black Cats also want a centre-back and a striker before the window closes, with Sheffield United's Daniel Jebbison in talks.

With no senior full backs currently on the books, there are concerns ahead of the Wigan game but McAllister again praised Carl Winchester and Dan Neil for their efforts.

The pair picked up where they had left off against Harrogate Town, impressing against stronger opposition.

"I think they’ve adapted really well in the last couple of games," McAllister said.

"They’re good footballers, and good footballers with a good football brain make good decisions and are comfortable on the ball. "There’s a few little things we need to tweak and help them with coaching wise, their positioning sometimes, but as you saw tonight, they were playing against two very good wingers and dealt with them well and nullified them.

"You’ve also got options in the squad – Luke O’Nien, Goochy played there for the last half-hour, so you can adapt.

"Bailey pulled out tonight with illness which is unfortunate, you could also put Bailey in the middle and put Callum of Flanno to the left. So you’ve got other options.

"Obviously, we are still looking to bring people in as well.”

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