Lee Johnson gives Sunderland injury update as attention turns to Papa John's Trophy final

Lee Johnson is hoping that Aiden O'Brien has not suffered a serious injury but will monitor the forward ahead of Sunday's Papa John's Trophy final.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 6:54 am

O'Brien was substituted in the aftermath of Jordan Jones' superb goal at Fratton Park on Tuesday night, as Sunderland moved within two points of the top two with a 2-0 win.

The forward has been a regular since Johnson took charge and would be a strong contender for a place in the starting XI

"I think he’s alright," Johnson said.

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Sunderland forward Aiden O'Brien

"He just felt a little bit of tightness in his hamstring. You're going to get a few those, Lynden Gooch had it last week.

"We’ll see how he is."

Johnson has had to manage his squad through a raft of injuries, particularly in defensive areas, but the situation is beginning to improve dramatically.

Tom Flanagan returned ahead of schedule to the squad on Tuesday, playing half an hour to help protect the team's clean sheet.

Johnson expects a number of other key players to return to training on Wednesday, potentially bolstering his options ahead of the final against Tranmere Rovers.

Dion Sanderson, Carl Winchester and Jake Vokins are all cup tied.

"The positive is that I’m taking a session tomorrow and we will have five players in that session who hopefully won’t be too far away," Johnson said.

"We had Tom coming back tonight which was a good one, we’ll have Bailey Wright training tomorrow, Ross Stewart training tomorrow, Denver Hume training tomorrow, Grant

Leadbitter training tomorrow, and Benji Kimpioka training tomorrow."

Conor McLaughlin could also return to training later in the week.