Phil Parkinson hints at his Sunderland team selection ahead of the Burton Albion clash
Jordan Willis is in contention to face Burton Albion on Tuesday night in what would be a significant boost for manager Phil Parkinson.
The Black Cats boss admitted he was ‘concerned’ on Saturday after Willis was forced off the pitch in the second half of the 1-1 draw with Coventry City.
Willis has been managing an ongoing knee issue, having an injection in his patellar tendon recently.
Willis trained on Monday, however, with Parkinson believing the issue on Saturday was cramp.
He’ll now opt whether to play Willis against Nigel Clough’s side, with Tom Flanagan and Alim Ozturk waiting in the wings having impressed their new manager in recent appearances.
“Jordan Willis came off but fortunately it was more a bit of cramp in his calf,” Parkinson said.
“He had a slight pain in his knee which he was worried about, but he trained on Monday morning.”
Marc McNulty remains sidelined with a hamstring problem.
The striker is likely to be fit again agter the international break, though the Black Cats are keen to get ot the bottom of an issue that has affected the Reading loanee at various points throughout the early stages of the season.
George Dobson is suspended for Tuesday night’s clash, while Lynden Gooch, Charlie Wyke and Elliot Embleton all remain sidelined.
Parkinson will be able to call upon the services of Conor McLaughlin, though, the right-back available again after serving a one-match suspension on Saturday.
Crucially, that gives the Black Cats boss the option of moving Luke O’Nien into a more advanced role, something he has done very effectively at the Stadium of Light so far this season.
“With Luke, we’ve to get him in a position where he can affect the game as much as possible, because he’s an all-action player,” Parkinson said.
“Once again on Saturday, a cross comes in and he’s up in the box challenging [and we score], he causes problems around the opposition box with his bravery and his pure desire.
“So obviously it’s in our mind as to whether we can get him closer to where the game is won and lost, which is in the penalty box.”