This is what Lee Johnson said on Wolves and Sunderland youngster Dion Sanderson's injury concern
Lee Johnson says he is hopeful that Dion Sanderson could still play a part in Sunderland's push for promotion.
Johnson confirmed, as reported by the Echo yesterday, that the Wolves loanee is having trouble with a back issue.
The 21-year-old has been playing through the pain barrier of late but Johnson says the issue has now become too great to manage.
Johnson said it was 'difficult news' for the club after a couple of disappointing results.
The positive for player and club is that scans have shown there is no stress fracture.
"It's difficult news," the head coach said.
"He's not going to be right in the short term.
"There's no fracture but there's a potential onset for a fracture, he's been struggling the last couple of games and has shown his warrior spirit by playing.
"It got too much to be able to manage through therapy.
"He's had a scan and that showed there was no stress fracture, but he's going to need to some sort of rest and recuperation."
Johnson is not yet sure on the timescale, and the opinion of both Sanderson and his parent club Wolves will be key.
Sanderson himself has told the head coach that he is up for the fight and does not want to rule out a return before the end of the campaign.
Sunderland's defensive options remain threadbare but Bailey Wright's return on Tuesday night has given him a valuable option in the centre of defence.
"He's not our player, so we have to have an open line of communcation with Wolves," Johnson said.
"Dion's opinion matters too and he's up for the fight, it's a setback but it's not [necessarily] fatal for the season.
"I love Dion to bits, he's done ever so well since he came in.
"He gives us good speed at the back, good intelligence, and good technical ability.
"So we'll of course miss him but it's a timely return from Bailey Wright."
Sunderland currently sit five points Peterborough United in the race for automatic promotion, with Darren Ferguson’s side set to face Northampton Town on Fridat night.
The Black Cats return to action against Blackpool on Saturday lunchtime.