Sunderland boss explains the next steps for recalled Notts County loanee Anthony Patterson - and why he didn't play against Oldham
Lee Johnson has not ruled out the possibility of Anthony Patterson returning to Notts County on loan, but says he is not yet ready to make a final decision.
Patterson was making significant progress with the ambitious National League side, having made his league debut at the Stadium of Light against AFC Wimbledon earlier this season.
But an injury to Lee Burge forced Sunderland into an early recall, with County saying that they had enjoyed positive dialogue over a future return.
The head coach is eager for Patterson to get 25 games across the campaign, which will in all likelihood clear him for another loan somewhere along the line.
For now, though, Johnson wants to ensure that Burge fully recovers from the hip flexor issue that had been troubling him through the early months of the season.
“I want to get our young talent 25 games across the season, as you know that’s something that I really believe in and believe that they need,” Johnson said.
“Patto did extremely well at Notts County.
“That was the right decision for the club in terms of Patto being that number one in the future that we know he can be.
“We first have got to see how Lee Burge reacts to a couple of weeks training.
“Hoff has done well and we’ve been pleased with how he’s done the majority of the time, and he’s still a young player learning himself.
“Patto always trains to a really high standard, so the good thing is we have three very competitive goalkeepers driving each other on.
“We’ll make the right decision as and when, but that’s just not quite yet.”
Johnson also explained the recent Papa John’s Trophy rule change that forced him to keep Patterson out of the matchday squad for the defeat to Oldham Athletic on Wednesday.
“The reason he didn’t play was that if he had done, it would have removed the option of him going back to Notts County,” Johnson said.
“There’s been a rule change this year as teams were pulling players back to play in the Papa John’s Trophy before going straight back again, so that was why.”