Michael Beale confirms the Sunderland player on the brink of making his long-awaited injury comeback

Elliot Embleton is closing in on his first minutes in a Sunderland shirt for over a year
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Elliot Embleton will make his long-awaited return from injury when Sunderland's U21s face Leicester City at Eppleton on Friday night.

Embleton has not played for Sunderland since suffering a broken leg at Hull City in December 2022. Though he made a brief comeback after joining Derby County on loan in the summer, a thigh injury has meant he has missed the vast majority of this season.

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While Micheal Beale is eager not to put too much pressure on the 24-year-old given how much football he has recently missed, he says his technical ability will be a real asset for the group when fit again. Should Embleton come through tomorrow night's game, he could then return to the senior matchday squad over the next few weeks.

"Elliot Embleton will play in the B team tomorrow, 45 minutes so it's good to see Elliot back," Beale said. After that he'll be available for selection which is really positive.

"I think we have to respect the fact he's missed a lot of football and give him a chance. Let's see how tomorrow night's 45 minutes go. There's one thing training with the group, there's another thing getting your bearings on a big pitch again and getting those lungs burning again.

"They are all the things that Elliot has got to go through, but in terms of the training I've seen a player who can really add something to the team. He's a local boy as well and knows what it means to play for our team. "The last few months have been really frustrating for him. We feel our staff know his body here. We know him so it was important that he stayed here.

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"We're in the second week in Feb so there's not a lot of the season to go, but the most important thing is that Elliot stays fit now and can then get rhythm back in his football. I think he's a player that does better with rhythm, most players are, when you are playing and get a rhythm.

"We know the technical ability we can bring to the group." Sunderland have no new injury concerns for Plymouth Argyle's visit.