Sunderland boss reveals major Alex Pritchard and Nathan Broadhead update

Alex Neil has confirmed Alex Pritchard and Nathan Broadhead are closing in on a return to action.

It represents a major double fitness boost for play-off chasing Sunderland, who dropped to seventh after their free weekend.

The Black Cats return to action on Saturday at the Stadium of Light when Gillingham head to Wearside.

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Both Broadhead and Pritchard have played key roles this season, and with Jermain Defoe now retired Alex Neil will be relying more on Broadhead to help support top scorer Ross Stewart.

Sunderland's Academy of Light.Sunderland's Academy of Light.
Sunderland's Academy of Light.

Neither has featured since a 0-0 draw with Charlton Athletic earlier this month.

Providing an update, Neil said: “We were concerned that both would be long-term issues, but they have recovered quicker than anticipated.

“That’s great and both have been out on the grass this week, so we have hopefully seen flashes that they are coming back.

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“Whether they will be back for this weekend’s game against Gillingham, I’m not quite sure, but they certainly aren’t far away.”

Meanwhile Danny Batth played the full 90 minutes for Sunderland’s Under-23s against Burnley last week.

Neil added: “We tried to top up as many lads with minutes [in that Under-23 game] that hadn’t been featuring, and obviously the likes of Danny needed some because he hadn’t played in a wee while.

“It’s good to get all the players back [and available], as it gives us variety in terms of what is available for our remaining games."

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Sunderland had a free weekend last time out after their home game with Rotherham United was called off due to international call-ups.

Neil will be hoping the extended break has benefitted his squad as they push for a place in the League One play-offs heading into the final month of the 2021-22 campaign.