Sunderland boss gives injury update as midfielder closes in on return

Jonny Williams is closing in on a return to first team action, but is unlikely to be fit to play against Hull City this weekend.

Thursday, 18th January 2018, 11:06 am
Updated Thursday, 18th January 2018, 11:10 am
Williams is nearing a return to first team action

The Wales midfielder has returned to first team training well ahead of schedule after suffering a shoulder injury in the 2-2 draw with Millwall last November.

Coleman admits it will be a huge boost to be able to call on the 24-year-old again.

He said: "It’s a huge boost. We’ve been badly lacking strength in depth. He’s trained with us, not fully, but he’s done most of it and been integrated. The good thing is, with his shoulder injury, he’s been doing loads of running, just no contact. So the acid test will be when he has that contact but he’s ahead of schedule.

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"I remember getting the phone call from Kit because Kit came to the game on the Saturday, against Millwall, I was being unveiled on the Sunday. He gave the news about Duncan and Jonny and it was devastating, they were two players we could really do it. It was a big blow for us.

"You can’t always kick it from back to front. There’s a time to do that, of course there is, there’s a time for the centre-backs to go long to the striker, but there’s also a time to play through midfield.

"We’ve got into some good areas but we’ve lacked confidence to play through the lines with conviction. A player like Jonny can help change the dynamic. He wins a lot of free-kicks because he commits defenders.

"The way we want to play Jonny and Duncan are perfect. Jonny will, fingers crossed, be back fairly soon."

Coleman also confirmed that Paddy McNair is still not fit to return to the first team fold as he recovers from a groin problem.

That could force Lee Cattermole into action despite the experienced midfielder being well short of match fitness.

Coleman said: "Paddy has been stop start off the back of being out for a long period. When you come back you pick niggles up. Paddy has problems with his groin, which is maybe just compensation from his knee. We can’t push him, when he’s ready he’s ready.

"When you look at it, with Gibson as well, you think, wow, it couldn’t get worse. But we have to make do and make the best of what we've got."