Sunderland hopeful on Will Grigg as Northern Ireland boss gives detailed update on his injury

Sunderland will assess Will Grigg after the striker was forced to withdraw from international duty.

Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 12:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 1:23 pm
Will Grigg has returned to Sunderland after injury

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill has confirmed that the 27-year-old has an ankle problem, ruling him out of Northern Ireland's qualifiers against Estonia and Belarus.

Grigg's international team-mates play tomorrow night and on Sunday afternoon.

The Black Cats are hopeful that the injury is not serious but will have to wait for a full prognosis.

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It is not the first time Grigg has had an ankle problem this season.

The former Wigan Athletic striker suffered an injury during Sunderland's protracted January pursuit.

He missed just over two weeks action on that occasion, but was soon fit enough to begin his Black Cats career.

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Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, O'Neill said that it was the same injury causing the striker problems.

"It's a blow," O'Neill said.

"Will has never really had a run for us.

"He's been carrying the ankle injury since January, he stayed on the pitch on Saturday only because Sunderland had used their three subs. It was in his best interests to let him go back to his club.

"We have other options. It is disappointing. In the Nations League, Will showed he's capable of scoring at this level."

Sunderland are next in action when they take on Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy final next Sunday.

Jack Ross will be hoping that Grigg is fit to take his place in the XI for that game, though arguably of even greater importance are the eight League Games that follow in a punishing April schedule.

Grigg has scored three times in ten appearances since joining Sunderland in a League One record deal on deadline day.

Ross has been full of praise for the striker, who he insists has helped improve the side.

Speaking after Grigg scored a vital winner against Walsall last Saturday, Ross said: "With the exception of the last couple of tough away games, he has had chances in every game, he has found himself in those positions and if we keep doing that, then he will score goals.”