Tony Mowbray gives Sunderland injury update and drops major selection hints for Rotherham trip

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Jewison Bennette is set to return to the Sunderland squad at Rotherham on Tuesday night, with head coach Tony Mowbray making clear that he will again rotate his squad.

Bennette was missing from the matchday 18 as Sunderland drew 1-1 with Bristol City on Saturday afternoon, but Mowbray has confirmed that it was only a minor knock and that he will therefore travel with the group.

While Niall Huggins and Lynden Gooch are both making encouraging progress in their recovery from injury, they remain a week or so away from being realistically considered for selection.

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“Niall Huggins is back training but he's a week or so away [from being in contention],” Mowbray said.

Sunderland winger Jewison BennetteSunderland winger Jewison Bennette
Sunderland winger Jewison Bennette

“We want him to train regularly, whether it's with us or the U21s depending on the schedule that we have. Lynden has had his boots on today, so that will probably be another week or two away. But that's a boost for us to see him with his boots on.

“We've got one or two knocks from the weekend but we think they'll be alright, we'll do a fitness test before we go.

“Jewison had a kick on the calf at the weekend which is why he didn't make the squad, but he was training with us today so he'll be involved in some capacity at Rotherham.”

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Mowbray has rotated his side through a hectic schedule of late and that will continue at Rotherham.

“We’re trying to get the balance right,” he said.

"We’ve made three changes in the last couple of games, and there’ll probably be another three changes for Rotherham.

“There might be for the weekend again, but then after that, we’ve got a week of going Saturday to Saturday where hopefully we can recover a bit.

“At this moment, we’re not really tinkering because of the opposition, the changes are about our team and who we think might need a bit of a rest.”

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While Mowbray has primarily rotated his forward and midfield players in recent times, he has confirmed that will change tomorrow.

“There will be changes in the defence,” he said.

"I probably shouldn’t be telling you that, but there will be. I see the players after the game, and they can barely move, they are absolutely exhausted with the effort that they’re putting into football matches. Then, you ask them to go and train for a couple of days after and then do it again.

“They’re not necessarily going to drop off because they can go again, they can keep pushing themselves beyond what they feel is their maximum. I feel we could keep doing that, but I also feel that we’ve got a squad of players where we can cover for a few players.

“Hopefully, that doesn’t weaken us, other than maybe the consistency aspect, particularly when you’re talking about defenders. The understanding builds up within a defence, you get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so when you start tinkering with that, there can be a bit of uncertainty about what somebody’s going to do when the ball goes into a certain area.

“That’s probably why there’s sometimes a bit of resistance about changing the backline if it’s doing well, but then sometimes you just have to accept that a change or two is required.”