Sunderland boss Alex Neil gives Dennis Cirkin and Carl Winchester injury updates

Dennis Cirkin looks set to miss Sunderland’s final two games of the regular League One season, with Carl Winchester also a major doubt.
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Those injury setbacks were the only negative of a day where Sunderland bolstered their top-six hopes with an emphatic 5-1 win over Cambridge United.

Cirkin was not in the matchday squad for the win, while Winchester came off in the tenth minute after suffering a groin injury.

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Neil does not have a full prognosis on either injury at this stage but admits that Cirkin in particular is unlikely to be involved as the Black Cats face Rotherham United and Morecambe.

Carl Winchester suffered an injury in Sunderland's win over Cambridge UnitedCarl Winchester suffered an injury in Sunderland's win over Cambridge United
Carl Winchester suffered an injury in Sunderland's win over Cambridge United

“Winny has hurt his groin, the extent of it I can't tell you at the moment,” Neil said.

“What I would say about Winny is that he's a robust lad, a hardy boy, so he's not one to come off if there's any chance you can continue.

“We lost Dennis before the game which is really frustrating.

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“We know that we've got gaps in the squad where if we lose a player, we are going to have those deficiencies exposed.

“Dennis is certainly one of those players, and Winny is probably another.

“It's an injury issue with Dennis. In terms of his return, providing we extend the season [get into the play-offs] then I'd be very hopeful that Dennis would play a part.”

Sunderland’s lack of cover at full back means that Neil’s options without those two players are scarce.

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To that end the return of Callum Doyle was timely, the centre back completing 80 minutes on the left of the back three following Winchester’s withdrawal.

Alex Pritchard also played half an hour on his return from a calf problem, bolstering Neil’s attacking options ahead of the run-in.

“Callum and Alex hadn't really done enough training [to start],” Neil said.

“Those two lads in terms of this game, they weren't quite ready [to start] especially with the games we've got coming up.

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“The only disappointment [today] really is the loss of Winny, but it’s good to get Callum minutes as well. If Dennis and Winny are going to be missing now, there may well be an opportunity for Callum to play.”