Lee Johnson looking for tactical solution with Elliot Embleton unavailable for Sunderland’s games against Crewe, Charlton and QPR

Lee Johnson will be without several first-team players for Sunderland’s trip to Crewe but has faith in the club’s younger players as he looks to find a tactical solution.

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 6:00 am

Aiden McGeady, Lynden Gooch, Leon Dajaku, Corry Evans, Niall Huggins, Nathan Broadhead and Frederik Alves all missed the Black Cats’ 2-1 win at Gillingham, while Elliot Embleton was sent off and will now serve a three-match suspension.

That means Embleton will miss Sunderland’s league games against Crewe and Charlton, as well as next week’s Carabao Cup fixture at QPR.

Out of the aforementioned players who are managing injuries, McGeady is the most likely to return against Crewe but is still nursing an ankle issue.

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Sunderland boss Lee Johnson.

The setbacks could provide more opportunities for some of the club’s under-23 players, and striker Will Harris was handed his first league appearance for Sunderland at Gillingham after coming off the bench.

When asked about the prospect of Embleton missing the next three games, Johnson said: “We just can’t afford to lose a player with seven out, obviously in wide areas as well.

“I suppose the one thing is the young players have done exceptionally well in the Papa John’s Trophy and I felt confident in putting Will on because of his performances.

“We’ll find a solution, tactically we are quite flexible and it’s just about getting rested up now and going into a completely different style of game against Crewe but no less tough.”

When asked about Crewe, who have dropped to 23rd in League One following a 3-0 defeat at Fleetwood, Johnson replied: “It’s a different game completely but it's still a big challenge.

“We know the way Crewe play, they are renowned for producing young players and have got a mix of young and old this year in that team.

“We have to be at it, you’ve seen in this league that if you’re not at it for 45 minutes or 25 minutes somebody else will have the quality to be able to unlock you or the strength.

“The big thing for us is that recovery and we’ll see if we can fast forward or accelerate one of the options from the injured players.”

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