Sunderland suffer injury blow with Phil Parkinson sweating on fitness of defender

Phil Parkinson said he was ‘really disappointed’ for Alim Ozturk, with the centre-back set for another spell on the sidelines.

Ozturk was making his first appearance since September 17th in the 2-1 defeat to Leicester City U21s on Tuesday night.

His comeback lasted just 36 minutes before a hamstring injury forced him off the field, with Jordan Willis coming on as his replacement.

“I'm really disappointed for him,” he said.

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“He's had a full week's training and it is disappointing. I don't know the extent of it yet.

“I just know that it's his hamstring and I'll find out later.”

Ozturk was one of a number of players to be handed a chance to impress, with the Black Cats boss making eight changes from the league win on Saturday.

The Black Cats struggled to make an impression in the game but Parkinson was reflective when discussing the performance of his fringe players.

He also said that it would not affect his selection plans for the next two cup games, saying this period would be ‘crucial’ in his planning for the January window.

“I picked a team that was very open and we got exposed at times,” he said.

“Two or three are very low in terms of match fitness and that probably showed.

“We’ve got to kind of accept that. We played Alim [Ozturk] and he’s come off injured, [Laurens] De Bock, who was playing his first game for a few weeks after being injured, and [Dylan] McGeouch hasn’t played for a while as well.

“We just left ourselves exposed. That was the team I picked, and when you’re on the touchline thinking, ‘We look exposed against a young team’, it just shows you that in league football, you can’t leave yourselves open like that. That’s one thing we’ve been stressing to the lads in the league games we’ve played so far.

“I don't think tonight's result will affect Saturday, we had a team in mind for that anyway.

“The bigger picture for us is that in this Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday period is to look at everybody so we can build up a picture for January and that is the key for us really.”