Sunderland boss explains why promising goalkeeper won't head out on loan this month
Lee Johnson has ruled out sending Anthony Patterson on loan this month.
The talented young goalkeeper had made a positive early impression on Johnson, and started in the 2-1 Papa John's Trophy win over Oldham Athletic in December.
Johnson admits that he would ideally now look to get some more senior experience for the 20-year-old, but fears that he could leave himself vulnerable if he does so.
The head coach's main concern is that were Patterson to move to the National League, Sunderland would not be able to swiftly recall him if one of the senior goalkeepers was sidelined through injury or illness.
"We just can't do it," Johnson said.
"It is frustrating because I'd love to get him 20 games between now and the end of the season but at the moment he's going to have to learn his trade by watching and competing, at the very least for that next Papa John's game by performing well in training.
"It's a tough one but I don't think we could do it unless we got one in.
"I think you need three goalkeepers who you believe can play in the first team.
"I wouldn't want to be fishing around for a really important game for an emergency loan, with no one willing to do us a favour potentially.
"That could be dangerous.
"It's not ideal, if you could get an immediate recall clause then you could do it, but you can't because it's 28 days in the National League."
For the same reason Johnson is unlikely to sanction a loan move for Dan Neil, though the midfielder is still currently recovering from an ankle injury.