Lee Johnson gives Sunderland injury update and makes honest schedule admission
Lee Johnson admits Sunderland's schedule is a growing concern as another superb cup win came at a price.
Denver Hume' s encouraging comeback was halted just 20 minutes into the Carabao Cup fourth round win at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, the left-back leaving the ground later with his ankle in a protective boot.
Leon Dajaku also came off with a knock, while Alex Pritchard is still being troubled by a neck problem.
Johnson also revealed another couple of players picked up minor injuries ahead of the challenging trip to Rotherham United this weekend.
Sunderland's penalty shootout win against QPR secured their place in the quarter finals of the competition, a superb achievement given all games have been away from home.
And while Johnson revelled in the scenes as almost 3,000 travelling fans wildly celebrated the shootout success, he admitted the extra fixtures are a challenge.
“With Denver it’s a contact injury that’s rocked his ankle," Johnson said.
"I hope it’s not bad news. We have come out of it physically damaged a little bit. Four or five players have come out with knocks, so the next 48 or 72 hours are really big for us because we’ve got another really big game on Saturday.
"If you look at the statistics in depth in the way that we do, they are right up there as one of the top sides in the division.
"It's a really tough game and we're going to have to rejuvenate the group.
"I don't want to be negative, because it's really not a night for that, but it is a difficult schedule.
"Things will come to the fore later on, there's going to be times when teams will get an extra day or two rest.
"That makes it difficult to keep churning it out and play with that zip if you can't make changes.
"I could smell that Charlton game [coming].
"Hopefully we'll be able to rotate but you always want some consistency as well.
"But all I'll say is at least the lads have clarity, and we'll always have quality.
"Hopefully we'll be able to keep churning out results."
One positive for Johnson is that Elliot Embleton has now served his suspension for the red card picked up at Gillingham.