Benji Kimpioka handed Sunderland first-team call for Coventry City clash

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Phil Parkinson has confirmed that Benji Kimpioka will form part of his first-team squad for the clash with Coventry City.

The striker, who was away with Sweden U21s during the week, has returned to the Academy of Light this week.

And Parkinson has revealed that he will be in the squad when the Sky Blues head to Wearside – although there will not be a plethora of youngsters involved after the club’s injury situation cleared-up.

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“There’s a few of the senior boys back available, so the youngsters have had a good taste of it,” he claimed.

Sunderland striker Benji Kimpioka will be in the squad against Coventry CitySunderland striker Benji Kimpioka will be in the squad against Coventry City
Sunderland striker Benji Kimpioka will be in the squad against Coventry City

“A lot of them are with the under-23s tonight going to play Manchester United.

“There are a couple we have kept back and there’s a possibility of their inclusion in and around the 18 man squad.

“Benji is back and trained today.

“He’ll be involved.”

Meanwhile, Parkinson has provided an in-depth update on injured duo Lynden Gooch and Charlie Wyke - with the Sunderland pair having received treatment in recent days.

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Gooch, who has been absent since the 5-0 win over Tranmere Rovers, received the final course of injections to help heal a ligament problem on Wednesday evening.

Parkinson is now hopeful that the American can return to action in the near future - although the upcoming clashes with Coventry City and Burton Albion are likely to come too soon for the 23-year-old.

“Lynden has had an injection again last night [Wednesday], but it was a course of three injections to strengthen the ligament up,” explained the Sunderland chief.

“That was the last one of the three, and the medical team and doctor wanted him to have these injections to help the healing process and make sure Lynden is strong when he comes back.

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“Hopefully he’ll be back soon, and it’s incredibly frustrating when you can’t get those players back.

“But equally, you’ve got to be calm as a manager because I don’t want the medical team to put them back when they’re not ready.”

The news is less positive for Wyke, however, who had initially returned to training earlier this week in a bid to be fit for a crucial run of League One fixtures.

And while quick to deny that the striker had suffered a setback in his recovery, Parkinson has been urged by the club’s medical staff to employ caution with the striker - whose ankle will require a further period of rest in order to sufficiently heal.

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There was some good news regarding the striker, though, with a scan earlier this week revealing that there is no fracture present.

“Charlie is not right, unfortunately,” added Parkinson.

“He’s not had a setback, but the doc just feels that the ankle needs a little bit longer to allow the natural healing process to take place.

“At the beginning of the week, he was running, finishing and joining in a bit of training - but he just doesn’t feel quite right.

“He hasn’t damaged his ankle any more, the doc just feel that has to happen.

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“He had a CT scan on his ankle to check there was no hairline fracture and that was proved clear.

“It was quite a serious injury so when he comes back we have to make sure he’s ready.”

Parkinson will welcome a number of first-team players back into the fold this weekend, having been without ten regulars for the trip to Gillingham in midweek.

Jordan Willis, Joel Lynch and George Dobson are all set to return to the squad, although the game is expected to come too soon for Marc McNulty whose hamstring is proving an issue.

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There was a doubt over the returning Tom Flanagan, who came back from international duty with a tight thigh, but Parkinson is confident he will be fit for the weekend.

Conor and Jon McLaughlin both also returned unscathed from international duty - albeit the former is unavailable for the visit of Coventry City.

Parkinson said: “Flanno had a bit of a tight thigh, but the game against Germany was probably a full stretch game for all the Northern Ireland team.

“He’s trained this morning and he comes back into the squad.

“It’s good to have those boys back. Obviously Conor [McLaughlin] is suspended for this one, but he’ll be back on Tuesday.”