Sunderland hit by another injury blow ahead of Millwall visit

Tony Mowbray has revealed that Edouard Michut has suffered a minor injury setback as he builds towards his Sunderland debut.
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Michut has joined initially on loan until the end of the season, with the Black Cats holding an option to convert it into a permanent deal.

Mowbray put on a behind-closed-doors friendly earlier this week to push Jewison Bennette and Abdoullah Ba closer to being involved in first-team action, but Michut was not involved.

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Amad Diallo, who made his Sunderland debut as a substitute against Middlesbrough on Monday night, also featured.

Sunderland signing Edouard MichutSunderland signing Edouard Michut
Sunderland signing Edouard Michut

“We put on a bounce game the other day against the U18s/21s,” Mowbray said.

“We managed to get Jewison Bennette a game, Amad played as well, Abdoullah Ba too.

“Edouard Michut has got a slight strain, I think the first couple of days of training was probably a bit more intense than what he's been used too recently, so he didn't play and is probably a week or two behind the others.

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“You have to be careful with these boys, we gave Amad a runout on Monday because he's had a full pre-season and is up and running a bit more.

“We can see the talent with the other lads, how fast they are. We just to need to see a bit more of them every day. If the team is functioning and doing alright, it gives you the chance to give them a bit longer on the training ground and get used to the tempo a bit more.”

Saturday’s visit of Millwall is expected to come too soon for Bennette and Ba, though there could be a place on the bench available given Ross Stewart’s thigh injury.

Mowbray says he will have to tinker his approach in the absence of the influential Scot, having brought Patrick Roberts into the starting XI at short notice against Middlesbrough.

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He will place he emphasis on Sunderland’s attacking midfielders to adapt their game, encouraging them to break into the box and score more ‘scruffy’ goals.

Other than Stewart, Ellis Simms and Jack Clarke are the only Sunderland players to score more than one goal so far this season.

“It’s a big blow for Ross, first and foremost, and of course a big blow for the club,” Mowbray said.

"He’s generally been the guy on the end of the chances, and sticking them in the net. He’s done very, very well.

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“These injuries are always an opportunity for somebody else though. I don’t want to bring out all the cliches, but that’s what football is.

“I’ve talked to them collectively, and we have to find a way to come together and score goals. If we have to play slightly differently to score the goals, then so be it. The balance of the team might have to be slightly different, moving from having two big, strong mobile strikers at the top end to maybe having one striker of that nature and a lot of technical players around them. We’ll try to adjust things to find the best way to score goals with the players we’ve got available.”