Sunderland boss Jack Ross admits that Aiden McGeady was 'not very' close to featuring against Portsmouth in the play-off semi-final second leg.
The winger was in-line to start the first leg, only to withdraw due to injury in the warm-up, and failed to recover in time to make the trip to Fratton Park.
And Ross has revealed that the Sunderland star didn't travel to the south coast after the Black Cats opted to take the sensible option.
"Not very," said Ross, when asked by Sky Sports how close McGeady was to featuring.
"Once we knew he wasn't going to be able in the first leg, he has an ongoing foot problem that needs a prolonged period of rest, and the game coming around so quickly after the first leg meant that it wasn't sensible for him to travel."
While McGeady isn't able to feature, Ross did make two changes to his side against Portsmouth - with Chris Maguire and Grant Leadbitter handed starts in place of Lewis Morgan and Lynden Gooch.
But while some viewed the changes as negative, the Sunderland manager explained that they were made in order to provide some freshness to the side and to adapt to Fratton Park's narrower pitch.
"I think [the changes are to] to give a little bit of freshness to the side because you obviously play two games quite quickly," added Ross.
"The dimensions of the pitch are different here than they are at our own stadium as well.
"We know we're going to have to get control of the game tonight as well.
"We know it's going to be frantic and intense in terms of the atmosphere, so the team we've picked tonight is one that we hope will give us that control.