Sunderland AFC news: Jack Ross discuss Chris Maguire replacement, Bryan Oviedo latest plus summer target signs new deal

Sunderland are well equipped to cope with the loss of Chris Maguire but will struggle to find a like for like replacement, according to manager Jack Ross.

By Joe Nicholson
Friday, 22 February, 2019, 17:13
Sunderland's Chris Maguire will be out for up to two months with a broken fibula.

The Scottish forward was ruled out for up to two months with a broken fibula following Tuesday's 4-2 win over Gillingham at the Stadium of Light.

Maguire, 30, had just returned to the starting XI following his impressive cameo against Accrington Stanley a week ago.

Sunderland aren't short of options with Duncan Watmore, Lynden Gooch, Lewis Morgan and George Honeyman all fighting for places in in Sunderland's front line.

Even so, Ross knows Maguire has unique qualities which will be difficult to replace.

“There’s not really another one in the squad that I would say is the same as Chris,” Ross said, ahead of this weekend's fixture against Bristol Rovers.

“With other forwards it’s probably a bit easier to compare them in terms of like for like So it’s just about finding the right combinations.

“Obviously having Duncan back fit changes things again because he helps us in a very different way. We’ve got options and I don’t think we have to change dramatically.

Gooch was the man who replaced Maguire on Tuesday night and Ross was impressed with the 23-year-old's performance.

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Even so the midfielder is a doubt for the trip to Rovers this weekend after picking up a hamstring injury against the Gills.

Ross also confirmed defender Bryan Oviedo remains "unavailable" despite returning to training earlier this week.

The Costa Rica international has been nursing a calf injury in recent weeks.

Meanwhile former Sunderland target Billy Sharp has put pen to paper and signed a new two-and-a-half-year deal with Sheffield United.

According to Blades boss Chris Wilder, Sharp, 33, turned down the chance to join Sunderland last summer when he was linked with a move away from Bramall Lane.

Since then the striker has scored 23 goals in all competitions this season, with United pushing for promotion from the Championship.

"Billy is a natural goalscorer for us, we are delighted we have negotiated so that he can extend his period with the club," said Wilder.

"I would imagine he is looking forward to more successful times, he looks after himself and has that drive and desire to keep pushing on. The group has evolved and improved in my time here and he has done likewise."