Key forward pushing for recall to Sunderland XI as Phil Parkinson explains his importance
Lynden Gooch is pushing for his first Sunderland start in over two months as Bolton Wanderers visit the Stadium of Light.
The 24-year-old last started in the 5-0 win over Tranmere Rovers in late October, a game in which he scored before being brought off with an ankle problem.
He made an encouraging return off the bench against Blackpool in Sunderland’s last game and has trained without any problems since.
Phil Parkinson looks set to recall him to the starting XI, saying he is a player who ‘sets the tone’ with his energy.
“Lynden has got great energy as well as his quality,” Parkinson said.
“He sets the tone with the way he plays.
“He comes back in to compete for one of those places, he’s been a miss for us and he’s worked very, very hard in his rehab and in the last couple of weeks in training we’ve been pushing him as far as we can.
“He looks in a good place.”
Gooch is itching to step up his comeback having being told early on in Parkinson’s tenure that he would be a key player.
The Black Cats are looking to turn round a wretched run of form under the new manager that has seen them drop to their lowest-ever position.
"He's kind of told me that I'm a key part of his plans from day one,” Gooch said.
“Obviously, injuries kind of halted that, but I think most people know that I like to get around and press and play high up the pitch and try and create. So as long as I stay fit, hopefully I can do that.
"Even last week I was training as well as I could to try and get in the team. That will always be the case.
"I think most games everyone expects us to win. I mean, we're Sunderland football club, so, especially at home, we should be winning games. Obviously against Blackpool we went down the 10 men and it was difficult. We take a good point in the end after going down to 10 men so hopefully we'll keep 11 men on the pitch on Boxing Day and get the win.”