Lee Johnson gets injury boost as Conor McLaughlin nears Sunderland return
Conor McLaughlin is expected to step up his recovery next week by playing for Sunderland's U23s on Monday afternoon.
McLaughlin was a regular in the early weeks of Lee Johnson's tenure but an ongoing hernia problem required surgery and he has not played since the 1-1 draw with Hull City on January 9th.
Max Power has recently stepped in at right-back and McLaughlin's return will strengthen Johnson's options.
McLaughlin is expected to play some part when the U23s play Newcastle United at the Academy of Light.
Johnson is expected to be without Callum McFadzean when Sunderland return to MK Dons on Saturday afternoon, which could see Southampton loanee Jake Vokins make his debut.
"We've allowed Callum to rest," Johnson said.
"I think more than likely he'll be unfit for tomorrow.
"We were contemplating on him travelling just to give him that extra day but to be fair, we've got at least three players who can play in that position.
"Tom Flanagan can play there if we want that bit of extra height, we've got Jake Vokins who we've brought in and then we've got "Dion Sanderson, who did extremely well when he played that role against Northampton.
"I think the squad is in a decent place in terms of numbers, and that leaves me with some somtimes difficult decisions, but to be honest it doesn't feel that difficult with so many games, because I think every player has something to look forward to at the moment."
Bailey Wright is expected to return for Sunderland after coming through his concussion protocols.