Sunderland dealt another injury setback ahead of Rotherham United fixture

Sunderland U21s beat Norwich U21s 2-0 at Eppleton CW in their first game of the new Premier League 2 season.

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Chris Rigg was forced off after showing symptoms of concussion during Sunderland’s under-21s match against Norwich .

Rigg, 16, clashed heads with an opposition player just before half-time and was subsequently substituted at the interval.

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It means the midfielder must follow the FA’s concussion protocols and won’t be available for Saturday’s Championship fixture against Rotherham.

Sunderland U21s went on to win the match against Norwich 2-0, with Ellis Taylor scoring both goals in the Premier League 2 fixture.

When asked about Rigg after the game, U21s assistant coach John Hewitson said: “He had symptoms of concussion. The character he is, he’s quite a tough nut, hard character. For him to say I’m not feeling great it’s like alarms go off.

“He’s fine, it’s just as a precaution of looking after him because we need to.”

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Rigg has been part of Sunderland’s first-team set-up during pre-season and made his first senior start during this month’s Carabao Cup match against Crewe - when he became the Black Cats’ youngest-ever goalscorer.

“At the moment he’s training with the first team on a daily basis and his game time is coming with the 21s,” added Hewitson.

“It’s like anything, if he’s accountable and does really well with the 21s he’s got to make a statement to the first-team staff.

“People forget that he’s only just turned 16, so he’s still a young man with lots and lots of potential.”

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Several other first-team players started for Sunderland’s under-21s side against Norwich, including summer signings Hemir and Nectarios Triantis, as well as Jewison Bennette and Niall Huggins.

“What we do now is if the first-team staff are wanting players from their squad to get minutes then we use games like this to get them up to speed and a level, whereby if they are required by the first team in Championship games they are going to be ready and raring to go,” Hewitson explained.

“They get plenty of notice, it’s not much of an issue really and they integrate quite well with our lads.

“Obviously our squad probably get disheartened sometimes when the older ones are coming down but that’s just a fact of life.

“They need to be the people that are sort of trampling over to get to the first-team level.”

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