Sunderland AFC news: Northern Ireland boss explains Will Grigg injury as George Honeyman reveals why he wanted to face Portsmouth

Will Grigg has returned to Sunderland after picking up an ankle injury while on international duty with Northern Ireland.
Will Grigg has returned to Sunderland after picking up an ankle injury while on international duty with Northern Ireland.

Sunderland striker Will Grigg has returned to Wearside after picking up an ankle injury while on international duty with Northern Ireland.

The 27-year-old front man has been ruled out of the Green and White Army's upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Estonia and Belarus in Belfast, yet Sunderland are hopeful the injury isn't too serious.

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill was asked about Grigg ahead of his side's clash with Estonia on Thursday evening, and revealed the issue is a recurrence of the injury Grigg suffered while playing for Wigan before his move to the Stadium of Light.

"It's a blow. Will has never really had a run for us," said O'Neill.

"He's been carrying the ankle injury since January. he stayed on the pitch on Saturday only because Sunderland had used their three subs. It was in his best interests to let him go back to his club."

"We have other options. It is disappointing. In the Nations League, Will showed he's capable of scoring at this level."

Grigg also missed Northern Ireland's November internationals through injury but will now turn his attentions to the Checkatrade Trophy final on Sunday, March 31.

Another man who's looking forward to the showpiece event is Sunderland captain George Honeyman.

The 24-year-old can't wait to lead his side out at the national stadium, with over 80,000 fans set to attend the fixture.

Honeyman has admitted he wanted Portsmouth to progress to the final, with both clubs selling-out their initial allocations.

“We wanted Portsmouth to get through if we were going to get to the final because we knew they’d bring a big crowd as well," said Honeyman.

“It’ll be surreal, I just want everyone to enjoy the moment and I’m sure they will.

“Enjoy playing for Sunderland in a cup final at Wembley because, it’s not the FA Cup but it’ll live in people’s memories if we go there and lift a trophy.”