Sunderland boss reveals double fitness boost ahead of Portsmouth

Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson has provided a full injury and fitness update ahead of this weekend’s game.
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The Black Cats welcome Portsmouth to the Stadium of Light on Saturday in League One with the Wearsiders looking to return to winning ways after a loss against Lincoln City bookended by draws with Wycombe Wanderers and Accrington Stanley.

Johnson provided updates on the fitness of Leon Dajaku and Corry Evans and also spoke about Luke O’Nien and Aiden McGeady, who have both been absent with long-term injuries.

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“We must have had about nine little contact knocks in training today,” Johnson said.

Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson. (Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson. (Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)
Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson. (Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)

“They’re nothing serious and nothing to worry about in terms of Saturday’s game, but I’m of course always on edge in training sessions because we’re so light at the moment.

“But we’re on the right track – players are returning from Covid and from injuries – Leon Dajaku is back available, and Corry Evans was out last weekend but will hopefully be in contention for this week.”

Johnson also provided an update on the situation surrounding Dany Batth after his move to Sunderland from Stoke City this week.

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The ex-Middlesbrough defender signed an 18-month contract at the Academy of Light in a boost to the club’s defence.

“Danny is available for selection, yes. Alex Pritchard and Bailey Wright came away from training this morning not 100% from their knocks, but hopefully they should be fine for Saturday.

“It’s a bit of a juggling act at the moment, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you our team or our shape because as it stands, we’re going to have to be flexible going into the game.

“But as I say, we’re getting stronger.

"That applies in the long term too – Luke O’Nien and Aiden McGeady are both back on the grass.

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"If you listen to Luke, he wants to come back quicker than anyone ever has from an injury like his, and I wouldn’t put it past him.

"He’ll have laser focus on his rehab; Geads has tentatively joined in light training, so we’re building his physical fitness and monitoring that medial ligament.”