Sunderland defender issues a positive fitness update as Lee Johnson sweats over injury concerns

Sunderland defender Bailey Wright says he is ready to play his part in the final weeks of the season – with Lee Johnson sweating over some fresh injury concerns.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 6:00 am

Wright, who was sidelined with a calf injury after the Papa John’s Trophy semi-final tie with Lincoln City, played the full 90 minutes at Wigan Athletic on Tuesday evening in what was his first game in two months.

And the Australian says he is fit and raring to go ahead of the final six games of the season.

“I said that when I was back fit I would make sure I was fully fit,” explained Wright.

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Sunderland defender issues a positive fitness update as Lee Johnson sweats over injury concerns

"The medical team and the fitness team have kept me fit so that I was ready to be back on the football pitch I could go on and play 90 minutes.

"Obviously I wasn't meant to be starting at Wigan, but my mentality for every game is to be ready because every game is full of curveballs and anything can change.

"I was ready, I feel fit and I'm ready to play my part.

"Even when you are injured you've got a part to play,” he continued.

"That's maintaining that the atmosphere is good, that lads are enjoying themselves and playing your part for the team.

"I'm a big believer that we all have a role and responsibility regardless of if that's on the pitch. This is a team game, we're all there for each other and we all want each other to do well.”

And Wright may well have to play his part in the coming weeks, with Sunderland sweating over some fresh injury concerns.

Conor McLaughlin, who had a hernia operation earlier this year, withdrew from the squad to face Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night and was set to be assessed this week.

As too was Wolves loanee Dion Sanderson, for whom a back complaint had emerged in the build-up to the trip to the DW Stadium.

Both will be doubts for the trip to Blackpool, leaving Sunderland’s defensive options once again depleted – with Jordan Willis and Arbenit Xhemajli longer-term absentees.

Tom Flanagan is moving towards a return while Oliver Younger could again be asked to deputise.

Commenting on the defensive injury situation on Tuesday evening, head coach Johnson said: "Conor had a hernia problem on one side and an injection in that, and that has left a weakness on the other side," Johnson said.

"I don't know whether it will settle down or whether he will have to go again, but it was pretty frustrating because there were no warning signs, just as soon as he started warming-up he said 'I can't run'."

"In an ideal world, Bailey would have had a couple of 90 minutes for the Under-23s, but it wasn’t just Bailey, there were two or three on the pitch who weren’t quite right," he added.

"Dion Sanderson's back has been an issue all week. We were a little bit light in that area, but at the same time I don’t think that’s any excuse because it wasn’t really central defence that cost us."

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