Sunderland boss bemoans injury blows in heartbreaking Norwich draw - with two defenders set to miss Reading

Chris Coleman.
Chris Coleman.
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Chris Coleman bemoaned the forced changes to his defence in the heartbreaking 1-1 draw with Norwich City - with John O’Shea and Adam Matthews both set to miss the Reading game.

Matthews was withdrawn at half-time with blurred vision while skipper O’Shea went off with 20 minutes to go with back and groin problems.

The absence of O’Shea at the heart of the Sunderland defence proved costly with Sunderland conceding from a set piece at the death.

It left the players distraught and Coleman bemoaning Sunderland’s luck.

George Honeyman handed Sunderland a 63rd minute lead from close range after Aiden McGeady’s effort hit the post but Ivo Pinto slotted home in the 89th minute after Sunderland again failed to defend a free-kick.

“With John O’Shea not being there, it is not ideal for us,” said Coleman.

“We had to change half of the defence during the game.

“Now we don’t know whether we’ll have John on Saturday or Adam and that is a blow.

“You get injuries, that is football but maybe with John on the pitch to organise it could have been different.

“That is two points we have given away, it is very disappointing and a big blow for us.

“Any team that has to change a defence during the game is not easy. Bryan [Oviedo] has come back in and he isn’t 100 per cent.

“Jake [Clarke-Salter] coming on for 20 minutes in a big game.

“You had John O’Shea there who has as much experience as anyone in this league, we needed him there for the last 20 minutes and we didn’t have him.

“His organisation and his calmness, we haven’t got him. It was tough. But it is hard to criticise the players in terms of their performance, we are disappointed because we gave up the three points.

“We have to say where they have gone wrong otherwise they don’t learn but it is hard to criticise though as they have emptied.”

The point leaves Sunderland six from safety with only 12 to play for.

At one point the Black Cats were four from safety with relegation rivals Burton Albion, Barnsley, Bolton, Birmingham City and Reading all losing.

Coleman expects to be without O’Shea and Matthews for the trip to Reading but he is hopeful Lynden Gooch will recover from the late knock he received.

Coleman added: “Adam took a knock half way through the first half and came off at half-time with blurred vision.

“John back and his groin all down his right side. I think probably both players will be a no for the weekend, John certainly unless he has an incredible recovery but he was struggling a bit.

“It is a tough one if Adam has concussion, there are levels of it. We will know more on Wednesday, with John it is his groin and his back. After 70 minutes there was no more, we were forced into a change.

“Goochy, we were going to bring Fletch off because he was carrying a knock but Gooch got whacked ten seconds before the sub so we changed.

“He got a kick, that should settle down hopefully within three or four days.”