Sunderland injury news: Major update on Ellis Simms plus Lynden Gooch and Patrick Roberts latest
Tony Mowbray remains hopeful that Ellis Simms will make his eagerly-anticipated return to the Sunderland squad at Luton Town this weekend.
Simms has been missing since the early stages of the 3-0 win over Reading with ligament damage in his toe, during which time Sunderland have to play without a recognised striker.
The Everton loanee has now come through almost a week of full training unscathed, raising hopes that he will be able to play some part at Kenilworth Road.
"I hope so,” Mowbray said.
“He’s trained all week, he still has a slight awareness [of the foot injury] so I have to get the balance right between throwing him in and managing him back. We’ve got four games before that World Cup break so I would hope that we can build him up, maybe 20/30 minutes then 60 etc.
“I think Ellis is the most important thing, so we won’t be putting him at risk by sending him out there and trying to get 90 minutes of football, but it’s great that he’s training back with us and if there’s no reaction, there’s no reason why he can’t travel with us to Luton.
“So far he’s not mentioned that there’s been any reaction.”
Mowbray says the return of a recognised striker will make a significant difference to the threat his side can pose, but warned that Simms will need some time to get back fully up to speed. Sunderland hope that Ross Stewart will then return after the World Cip break to further bolster the ranks.
“I don’t want to overburden Ellis but it’s a fact that we’ve been without strikers for a number of weeks,” Mowbray said.
“But to have a central play back who can threaten the space behind the opposition defensive line… it will be beneficial to us as a team. But he’s got to get himself up to fully speed and hopefully the performance level will improve as it goes along, we can’t expect miracles from him straight away but it’s good to have a player of his ilk back in the team going forward.”
What’s the latest with Patrick Roberts and Lynden Gooch?
Lynden Gooch is unlikely to return to action at Sunderland until after the World Cup break, Tony Mowbray has confirmed.
Gooch suffered a foot injury during the 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic and while there was some initial hope the issue was minor, subsequent assessment has meant that he will now almost certainly miss the next four games.
Mowbray hopes that he will join Daniel Ballard, Aji Alese and Ross Stewart in returning to significantly bolster the ranks for the visit of Millwall to the Stadium of Light on December 3rd.
Mowbray said: "I think Lynden will be two to three weeks, which obviously takes him past where we would need him to be [to play before the World Cup].
"I think while we're away he'll get his boots back and join us in training, and hopefully be with us for that first game after the break."
There is better news on Patrick Roberts, who missed the 4-2 defeat to Burnley due to a hamstring issue.
He is unlikely to start at Kenilworth Road but should be part of the squad and feature at some stage.
"Patrick trained today, and if he has no reaction, he’ll travel with us tomorrow as well," Mowbray said.
"You have to be careful with hamstring injuries though, so let’s see how he is. It was never really an injury, it was a fatigue thing with him, but it was a short turnaround and I think we all decided it was too much of a risk for him to play in the last game."