Lee Johnson gives injury update on ex-Leeds United defender Niall Huggins
Lee Johnson is hopeful that Niall Huggins has not suffered a serious injury after the young defender excelled in the Carabao Cup win over Wigan Athletic.
Huggins was making his second Sunderland start and produced a lively display, assisting Luke O’Nien for the second goal.
The 20-year-old came off looking in considerable discomfort just over ten minutes before the end, but Johnson says the initial signs are encouraging.
The full-back will be monitored ahead of the visit of Bolton Wanderers at the Stadium of Light this weekend.
Dennis Cirkin again produced a hugely impressive performance on the other flank, and Johnson admits he is encouraged by the quick development that both are making on Wearside.
Cirkin went close to scoring his first goal for the club with a fine individual effort in the first half as he continues to impress.
“I’m hoping it’s just cramp with Niall,” Johnson said.
"I think it was because it seems to have eased off. Him and [Dennis] Cirkin have to learn their tank because they’re so willing and honest that actually sometimes, it’s better just to support the wide man, but the pair of them are flying up and down. They must be murder to play against. You didn’t see Jordan Jones today because Huggins is just a nightmare to have to mark for a player that wants to be on the front foot.
“Dennis is going to be a top player and that's an unbelievable signing.
“And I thought Niall Huggins was outstanding, as well. You just wouldn't want to mark them, would you? They're like duracell bunnies.
“That [Huggins’ performance] comes from the cohesion – him understanding other players’ games and other players understanding him.”
Johnson said the team performance in the 2-0 win underlined the strength in depth he has.
"I was just really pleased. I know Wigan made changes, we made changes, and I think our depth showed. It’s almost disrespectful to call that team ‘depth’ because it’s more than that.
"There’s starters and really good players in that XI – it’s only circumstance that means they haven’t played in the league as much as they would have hoped.”