Lee Johnson on Sunderland's goalkeeper situation as Vito Mannone linked with return

Lee Johnson says that Sunderland are monitoring the market for new additions in every position, including goalkeepers.

Friday, 20th August 2021, 5:42 pm

The Black Cats head coach would not be drawn specifically on the club's interest in former goalkeeper Vito Mannone, currently at AS Monaco.

But he conceded that he was open to making another addition in that crucial part of the pitch.

With just over a week to go in the window, he added again that he has been pleased with his current goalkeepers and specifically, their willingness to adapt their game to the club's new philosophy.

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Anthony Patterson is pushing for more first-team involvement

"We're always looking," Johnson said.

"Unfortunately for players, it's the nature of the beast.

"If our head of recruitment just suddenly decided to chill out because he thinks we have a squad that can win the league, he's not doing his job properly.

"He's got to find the next best thing, whether it's a youngster coming through or a 32-year-old who can get us promoted.

"There's various lists compiled based on that, improving the value of the squad, improving assets, and it's about trying to balance all of that off.

"So on the goalkeeper front, we've got two very good goalkeepers but same as every position, we are always looking.

"Patto has done extremely well, I've been extremely pleased and impressed with the work he's done.

"Burgey was in the team of the year last season and so has obviously brings a lot of strengths to the team.

"And we're also looking to improve our own players.

"We're working with these players to improve them and a lot of the scenarios you've seen in games, and the positivity, have stemmed from the goalkeepers, things like having the attitude to get to the edge of the box quickly.

"Even the error we've made against MK Dons, that's on me.

"Yeah it could have been better execution in the moment, but the attitude to play in that way comes from me and so I take it on the chin if it leads to an error."

Sunderland have not ruled out the possibility of sending Anthony Patterson out on loan before the end of the window, and that possibility would clearly increase were the Black Cats to recruit another senior option.

However, Johnson says he believes the 21-year-old was man of the match at Port Vale last week and insists he is a realistic contender for first-team minutes.

"I've got to be honest, he's pushing pretty hard," Johnson said.

"I thought he was our best player at Port Vale away, every day in training I'm always chuckling at some unbelievable save he's made that everyone assumed had gone in already.

"Of course, there's the option to get him that consistency of games through a loan, knowing you're going to start every week.

"But we have to take it on its merits and you just don't know what's going to happen in football.

"Burgey might get an injury, Patto might get an injury, Jacob Carney could recover from his finger injury and put himself in the mix.

"You just don't know, so you just try to stay really fluid and make decisions based on what’s best for the club and the player."