Sunderland set to postpone Bristol Rovers clash after two more players handed international call-ups
Sunderland are set to postpone their League One clash with Bristol Rovers after Tom Flanagan and Conor McLaughlin were handed international call-ups.
The defensive duo will both form part of Michael O’Neill’s squad for the upcoming European qualifiers against the Netherlands and Germany – having been regulars in the squad in recent months.
Their inclusion in the squad means that Sunderland now have the three players required to postpone the clash with the Gas, with Jon McLaughlin having been handed a call-up to the Scotland squad for their next round of international fixtures.
And Phil Parkinson has made no secret of his desire to postpone the clash, given the injuries currently ravaging his squad.
Lee Burge, Lynden Gooch and Charlie Wyke are all currently sidelined and – with Alim Ozturk limping off during the defeat to Leicester City – his squad looks extremely stretched.
“Looking ahead to international break, the goalkeeping situation is the biggest concern, and I think everybody can understand that,” said Parkinson.
"One thing is absolutely sure, and that is that we don't want to give an advantage to the opposition or to the other teams around the top of table where we don't need to."
Indeed, the week off will give Parkinson a chance to work with his squad at the Academy of Light, with a hectic run of fixtures depriving him of an extended run of sessions on the training pitch during his early weeks in charge.
This will be the third game the Black Cats have postponed this term, with clashes against Burton and Fleetwood also re-arranged.