Sunderland AFC transfer news RECAP: Cats dealt Bailey Wright injury blow plus early Wembley team news from Lee Johnson

Sunderland head to Wembley this weekend for the final of the Papa John’s Trophy – and we’ve got all the build-up covered.

By Joe Nicholson
Friday, 12th March 2021, 5:12 pm

The Black Cats will face Tranmere Rovers at the national stadium looking for a first win there since 1973.

Lee Johnson and Max Power have been speaking to the media today to give their thoughts on the fixture, with the former providing a full injury update.

Scroll down for all the latest Black Cats news, analysis, insight and more ahead of Sunday’s big match:

The latest news from Sunderland AFC

RECAP: Sunderland AFC transfer news (12 March)

Last updated: Friday, 12 March, 2021, 17:16

  • Sunderland head to Wembley on Sunday to face Tranmere Rovers in the Papa John’s Trophy Final
  • Lee Johnson and Max Power spoke to the media earlier today
  • Bailey Wright will miss the match with a calf issue while Jordan Jones is an injury doubt

Thanks for joining us today

We’re signing off for today but will have more build-up to Sunday’s final across the weekend on the SAFC section of the Echo website.

We know it won’t be the same without fans but hopefully the Black Cats can finally end their Wembley hoodoo.

Enjoy the match!

More injury news on Leadbitter and Jones

Grant Leadbitter will be in the squad when Sunderland take on Tranmere Rovers in the Papa John’s Trophy on Sunday afternoon.

Head Coach Lee Johnson has had mixed news elsewhere, though, with Bailey Wright ruled out and in-form winger Jordan Jones a major doubt.

Jones was suffering from some muscle tightness in the latter stages of the 2-0 win over Portsmouth, a game in which he produced both a goal and an assist.

The winger will face a late fitness test alongside Aiden O’Brien.

Read more HERE

Make sure you pick up tomorrow's supplement special

Johnson on injuries

“We are slightly depleted but are hopeful a couple will return. Conor McLaughlin should be back if we need him if selected. Bailey Wright is out. Denver Hume is nearly there but it probably comes a bit too soon for him.

On Aiden O’Brien: We’ll have a look at O’Brien tomorrow and try to leave it as long as possible. We’ll basically give him a fitness test tomorrow.”

Johnson on Papa John’s Trophy final

Johnson on no fans: “That is something we’re not happy about but at the same time we feel the support definitely, but obviously it is from afar. It’s difficult times for everyone and we are very lucky to be able to come into work everyday. Hopefully for everyone we can come back with a trophy.”

Johnson on SAFC’s Wembley defeats:“I’ve only been here four months. I don’t feel any weight of history. For me with a new regime it’s the first. We want to do well for everyone and ourselves.”

Johnson on Tranmere: “It’s not a distraction. We have full respect for a good Tranmere. The reason we competed so hard and so well in the earlier round is for this moment. We respect Tranmere and they are at the top end of their division.”

Johnson on confidence: “I think the squad has been so impressive in terms of flexibility, understanding and team ethic. We have shown we can spring various formations on various teams  and we’ve got goals in us, and have kept clean sheets as well. It’s about chipping away and keeping improving.”

Max Power on the Papa John’s Trophy final

Power on the final: “We are looking at it as a reward for treating the competition seriously. We said from the start of the season that we wanted to win it. A lot of clubs treat this competition in different ways but I think you can see how seriously we’ve taken the competition.”

Power on Tranmere: “Tranmere were relegated on points per game last year so I don’t see them as a League Two club so we’re expecting a really tough test and know we will have to be at our best to come through and win it.”

Power on no fans: “It’s such a shame there will be no fans in the ground. The only positive is I didn’t get pounded for tickets. Tranmere is a great club, they gave me a chance in professional football and I will always be grateful for that.”

Power on Wembley experiences: “I’ve not had two great experiences, a penalty shootout defeat but  I don’t look into that too much previous record. We’ve worked really hard to get here, won a lot of games to reach the final and want to go one step further to win a trophy.”

Power and Johnson speaking to the press

Max Power and Lee Johnson will be speaking to the press this afternoon ahead of Sunday’s Papa John’s Trophy final.

Power is scheduled to meet the media at 12:45pm, with Johnson at 1:30pm.

This former Black Cat can’t play at Wembley

Former Sunderland striker James Vaughan says he wanted to ‘put right’ his disappointment of two years ago at Wembley this weekend – before injury struck.

The 32-year-old was set to line-up for Tranmere Rovers in the Papa John’s Trophy final, but has instead been forced to undergo surgery on a troublesome knee injury.

And it means Vaughan will be unable to rectify his last visit to Wembley – where he was an unused substitute as Portsmouth beat Sunderland in the EFL Trophy final.

The striker wasn’t able to make an impact against his former employers on that day and will be forced to watch from the stands again this weekend as Tranmere look to spring a shock.

James Vaughan reveals what he wanted to 'put right' against Sunderland at Wembley

Former Sunderland striker James Vaughan says he wanted to ‘put right’ his disappointment of two years ago at Wembley this weekend – before injury struck.

Lee Johnson has a firm message for his side before the big game

Safe to say he isn’t taking Tranmere lightly - and that he isn’t just going to Wembley for a day out...

Lee Johnson has this firm Tranmere Rovers warning for Sunderland ahead of Papa John's Trophy final

Lee Johnson has warned his Sunderland side that they cannot underestimate Tranmere Rovers as attention turns towards the Papa John's Trophy final on Sunday.

Where do we stand on injuries?

Lee Johnson is hoping that Aiden O’Brien has not suffered a serious injury but will monitor the forward ahead of Sunday’s Papa John’s Trophy final.

The forward felt a tightness in his hamstring during the win over Portsmouth on Tuesday night and was substituted at Fratton Park.

Defender Tom Flanagan returned ahead of schedule and came off the bench against Pompey, while Bailey Wright, Ross Stewart, Denver Hume, Grant Leadbitter and Benji Kimpioka all trained on Wednesday.

Conor McLaughlin could also return later this week.

A full injury update will be given later today at Johnson’s press conference.

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