Sunderland boss reveals Lynden Gooch fitness update

Lynden Gooch has not yet been ruled out of Sunderland’s trip to Ipswich Town this weekend, though Lee Johnson admits he may choose to rest the 25-year-old.

Sunderland forward Lynden Gooch
Sunderland forward Lynden Gooch

Gooch was brought off at half time during the 2-1 win over Plymouth Argyle last weekend with a groin problem.

Johnson’s immediate assessment was that it was either likely to be no issue and just a minor complaint, or an injury that would lead to three or four weeks on the sidelines.

At this stage it looks more likely to be the former, and Gooch will undergo a late fitness test ahead of the game.

However, a hectic festive schedule means that Johnson could be pragmatic and leave out the attacking midfielder.

"He’s positive about it,” Johnson said.

"We haven’t seen him on the grass this week because the mindset was that we’d give it as much healing time as possible before we do a fitness test on it.

"He’ll probably have one on Friday.

"We’ll plan for having him and we’ll plan to be without him. It’s just one of those tricky scenarios where with so many games, we may choose to leave him out of this particular one.”

Gooch has been an important part of Sunderland’s improved form and performances over the last week, impressing in an unfamiliar left-sided role.

Denver Hume is closing on a return to fitness and while Dennis Cirkin is not too far behind him, Gooch’s absence would likely leave Johnson having to reshuffle his pack again.

"Any player we lose is going to be a blow, and we’ve had to work really hard to find those tactical solutions of late,” Johnson said.

‘Players have had to buy into changing positions, and buy into us trying to find moments in games where they can bring their natural assets.

“Lynden is a really good example of that, particularly the last three games where he’s played really, really well.

"He made a slight mistake against Oxford United but has then gone on and had a really positive impact on the next two games.”

Corry Evans is also closing on a return from injury, but will not be available this weekend.