Phil Parkinson has firm message on Sunderland youngster's first-team prospects as he nears injury return
Phil Parkinson has backed Elliot Embleton to make a big impact in the second half of the season as he nears a return from a serious hamstring problem.
Embleton has not featured since coming off at half-time during Sunderand’s superb 1-0 win over Sheffield United in the Carabao Cup back in September.
He is set to return to full training next week and Parkinson believes he will benefit from a rigorous conditioning regime the talented playmaker has undergone during his spell on the sidelines.
“In terms of his running, he’s done a pre-season, really,” Parkinson said.
“He’s also been working in the gym on his strength and conditioning, the physio department and Paul Walsh have kind of taken him under their wing and used this period to strengthen him up.
“That’s great because often when you’re injured there’s not much you can do initially.
“They’ve worked him hard in the gym and since he’s been on the training pitch, he’s been working exceptionally hard, joined in some of the training and is set to come back into it next week.”
Parkinson is in the market for attacking additions this month but the 20-year-old will be given an opportunity to stake his claim when fit.
The Black Cats boss has watched his performances in League Two last season and in the early stages of this campaign and believes he has the quality to shine.
Embleton often played as one of the attacking midfielders in the 3-4-3 shape Jack Ross used in pre-season, something Parkinson has introduced with great success in a six-game unbeaten run.
“He could be a player who is a bonus for us in the second part of the season,” Parkinson said.
“I’ve had the opportunity to watch his games at Grimsby and the early part of this season, and I don’t think anyone can dispute that he’s got real quality.
“He’s one of our own lads and a England U20 international player, so I certainly feel he’s got a part to play,” he added.
“It’s up to him to push himself into our thinking.
“He backs himself, he’s confident, and as soon as he’s ready, we’ll get him involved.”