Lynden Gooch explains the Sunderland dressing room view on Covid-19 and injury issues after dramatic draw at Wycombe
Lynden Gooch says Sunderland’ squad are keen to keep playing matches - if they are able to do so – with the team on a ten-match unbeaten run in League One.
In the immediate aftermath, Saturday’s dramatic 3-3 draw against promotion rivals Wycombe may not have felt like a point gained, with Chairboys defender Joe Jacobson netting a last-gasp equaliser in the eighth minute of stoppage-time.
Still, after multiple Covid-19 cases and injury setbacks in the Black Cats camp, a point at Adams Park can be viewed as a commendable result in isolation.
Due to their lack of senior players available, Sunderland were forced to recall goalkeeper Anthony Patterson, Jack Diamond and Josh Hawkes from loan spells at Notts County, Harrogate and Tranmere respectively.
Patterson started the match in goal while Diamond came off the bench for the final ten minutes to replace Corry Evans, who was stretchered off with a head injury.
"It was always going to be a good match between two teams that have been battling it out for the past few years - we’ve had tough games against them,” said Gooch after the match.
“We have a good squad and had to bring a few lads back, full credit to them, especially Jack coming on today and Patto doing brilliant in goal. It was good to see.”
The result meant Sunderland stayed second in the table, yet they have played four more league games than Wigan in fourth, with the Latics five points behind.
That is because several of Wigan’s league fixtures have been postponed due to Covid cases or their FA Cup run, which could result in a backlog of games for Leam Richardson’s side.
Sunderland did see their home match against Fleetwood postponed at the start of January, due to positive Covid cases in the visitors’ squad, but won’t have any more cup fixtures this campaign.
“Of course we were disappointed that the game was off last week and we want to keep that momentum going, keep playing games and keep putting points on the board,” Gooch added.
“We have been in recent years trying to play catch up and obviously that hasn’t worked.
“Hopefully we can keep getting points on the board and keep our games on.”
Due to Sunderland’s depleted squad, Gooch is one of the players who has needed to be adaptable.
Along with fellow wideman Leon Dajaku, who missed the Wycombe game, Gooch has been asked to play in a wing-back role recently, yet the 26-year-old returned to a more attacking position at Adams Park.
“Even on this great run we’ve had people playing out of position, myself, Leon,” said Gooch.
“We have had loads of players playing all over the park and trying to fill the gaps. Today was like that.
“We all understand what the manager wants from us so when you slot in you just have to do the best you can."
On Covid issues disrupting Sunderland’s preparation, Gooch added: "It’s just the world we live in and I think we are used to it now after the past couple of seasons.
“You have to be ready for anything and week to week you don’t know what’s going to happen, day to day.
“You just have to be ready and try and fill in where you can.”