Sunderland AFC press conference RECAP: Aiden McGeady fitness update, reaction to Manchester United win plus Gillingham build-up

Sunderland secured their place in the knockout stages of the Papa John’s Trophy on Wednesday night – but it’s a quick turnaround for the Black Cats who are now preparing for Saturday’s trip to Gillingham.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 2:01 pm

Lee Johnson resisted the temptation to play his senior players against United’s under-21 team, with promotion from League One the clear priority for his side.

Yet several of Sunderland’s under-23 players took their chance to impress as goals from Tyrese Dyce and Stephen Wearne saw them progress.

The Black Cats are now heading into a busy run of games and the fixture against United was the first in a run of ten matches in just 32 days.

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Sunderland AFC press conference.

After the game at Gillingham, Sunderland will travel to Crewe in midweek as the games start to come thick and fast.

Sunderland assistant Jamie McAllister spoke to the media earlier today and you can read what he had to say here:

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RECAP: Sunderland AFC press conference

Last updated: Thursday, 14 October, 2021, 14:03

  • Sunderland beat Manchester United Under-21s in the Papa John’s Trophy last night.
  • The Black Cats are now preparing for this weekend’s League One game at Gillingham.
  • Sunderland assistant Jamie McAllister spoke to the media earlier today.

Johnson on Niall Huggins

“Niall Huggins is a bad one unfortunately, it’s bad news. He’s going to be out for a minimum of three months.

“He’s got the onset of a fracture. He’s got a history of stress fractures and he’s got the onset of one so that’s a tough one to take especially for the lad. You feel for him because he’s done so well.

“He’s such a good player and he’s been set back like that so we’ll wrap around him, look after him and make sure that three months is spent doing something progressive for his future.

“We’ve give him a few days off. I didn’t want

to patronise him, it’s part of football, it’s part of the game and he’s been through it before.

“We will see him. We will put our arm around him and make sure we look after him.

“He’s done really well. He’s long term, he’s got a big long contract, a four year one.

“I think that proves that he’s our type of player so in the big picture, it won’t seem like a long time but it will be painful for him at the moment having come in and done so well.”

Johnson revealed last night that defender Niall Huggins is expected to be sidelined for a minimum of three months with a back issue.

Johnson admits it’s a big blow for the 20-year-old, who joined the club from Leeds over the summer, but says he will make sure the club use the time out to further his long-term development on Wearside.

Aiden McGeady (ankle) and Lynden Gooch (foot) both missed the 4-0 defeat at Portsmouth in Sunderland’s last league game and it remains to be seen whether they will be fit to play this Saturday.

One major positive is that Luke O’Nien is expected to be available after limping off at Lincoln last week.

Corry Evans is still nursing a calf issue.

Read a full injury update from Johnson HERE

Reaction to last night’s win

We have loads of reaction and analysis from last night’s win on the SAFC section of the Echo website.

After a weekend off, the games are starting to come thick and fast for Sunderland.

The Black Cats progressed through the group stages of the Papa John’s Trophy with a 2-1 win over Manchester United Under-21s last night, and Lee Johnson is now preparing for Saturday’s trip to Gillingham.

Johnson’s assistant Jamie McAllister will speak to the media at 1:30pm today.

We’ll have live updates from the press conference on today’s blog.

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