Sunderland boss gives injury updates on key quartet ahead of Portsmouth trip

A potential hamstring injury to Nathan Broadhead was the one downside to a superb night for Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 1:19 pm
Sunderland striker Nathan Broadhead
Sunderland striker Nathan Broadhead

Broadhead was handed his first league start since joining on loan from Everton and rewarded Lee Johnson' s faith with a fine display in the 5-0 win over Cheltenham Town.

The Black Cats were forced to finish the game with ten men after Broadhead suffered the knock, which Johnson says the club will have to assess in the build up to the trip to Portsmouth this weekend.

"Nathan was frustrated because he felt a little bit of tightness in his hamstring," he said.

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"He's a bit down about it, but we'll have to see how he is.

"He maybe felt it a bit earlier and should have come off a bit earlier, but he did a couple more sprints and felt it a bit more.

"It's very early to assess something like that, it could be cramp, it could be a myofascial tear, or it could be a bad one, we don't know.

"I thought he was fantastic, and as an ex-midfielder myself you just love playing in a team with that kind of movement ahead of you," Johnson added

"Not only that, he never loses heart when he doesn't get the ball.

"He's not one of those strikers who makes ten runs and then stops because the ball isn't coming.

"He keeps on presenting himself, either to be put in behind or with the ball to feet."

Sunderland are also hopeful that Dennis Cirkin could be available for the trip to Portsmouth, as he continues his recovery from concussion.

Niall Huggins excelled in his place against Cheltenham and has a strong chance of retaining his place against Danny Cowley's side.

"We'll have to see, we'll have to assess him [Cirkin]," Johnson said.

"In terms of the concussion protocol, he is complying with that and doing well.

"We'll try get him out on the grass tomorrow and go very, very light with him and see how he responds."

Sunderland are also monitoring Callum Doyle after opting not to risk the Manchester City loanee on Tuesday night.

Doyle came off during the latter stages of Sunderland's 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon with a back problem and though the issue is not thought to be serious, Johnson is keen to be cautious with the 17-year-old.

He does hope that Lynden Gooch could return from a foot problem to play some part at Fratton Park.

"It was a risk that we weren't willing to take with a young player," Johnsons said of Doyle.

"The sheer proximity of games that he has had, he has never had that before.

"He's 17, he's still got loads to do and loads to learn.

"The problem we have with Doyle is that he has set his standards so high, what if he plateaus a little bit?

"If he drops one percent, it stands out like a sore thumb.

"But we've got Gooch coming back, hopefully on Saturday or maybe the Tuesday game, hopefully Callum Doyle as well."