JACK RODWELL could get a chance at former club Manchester City on Thursday, despite being left out of the Sunderland squad at Aston Villa.
Big money summer signing Rodwell wasn’t even on the bench for the Black Cats in yesterday’s 0-0 draw at Villa Park, with head coach Gus Poyet confirming afterwards that the £10million midfielder’s absence was tactical.
Rodwell’s only contribution over the last five games has been as a stoppage time substitute in the Tyne-Wear derby.
But with fellow midfielders Seb Larsson and Liam Bridcutt both doubts for the New Year’s Day’s trip to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City, Rodwell could be handed an opportunity at the Etihad.
“No, it was tactical,” said Poyet when asked whether Rodwell had been injured.
“I need him. I know it’s going to sound stupid, but I had a view of the game and what I needed.
“But next week, with Anthony (Reveillere) and Patrick (van Aanholt) back, they are all going to be important players in the squad.
“It’s fantastic for the manager, terrible for the players. But I’m sure Jack will bounce back and probably have a great opportunity on Thursday with the injuries in midfield.”
Bridcutt came off with concussion during the first half yesterday after an accidental collision with the knee of Villa striker Christian Benteke.
Larsson then suffered an ankle injury before the break and although he managed to continue until the second half, it was clearly affecting him.
When asked whether the pair would be fit for City, Poyet said: “I don’t know. We’ll wait and see.
“I think we’ve got plenty of players back now, so we can cope with the situation better.
“Liam has concussion, and with the new rules you need to be careful.
“Seb has twisted his ankle. It is ligament damage, but nothing serious – a few days.
“We were unlucky. When you have the chance to win a game, when the opposition goes down to 10, the manager has a chance to do something with the changes.
“But we had two bad injuries, so I couldn’t really affect the game as much as I would like.
“It’s not an excuse. It’s why I am here – to affect the game somehow – but I had only one change with which to do that.”