Sunderland's rivals suffer injury crisis

Danny CowleyDanny Cowley
Danny Cowley
The Black Cats will face Bradford City in the Papa John’s Trophy tonight as the Wearsiders look to bounce back.

Pressure has increased on the Black Cats in recent weeks after heavy defeats against Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday, as well as an FA Cup loss against League Two side Mansfield.

Lee Johnson’s side were booed off the pitch against The Stags and will need a response when they return to league action against Ipswich on November 20.

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Here, though, we take a look at the latest stories surrounding Sunderland and their League One rivals that you may have missed:

Sunderland’s rivals suffer injury crisis

Danny Cowley has delivered his verdict on the injury crisis engulfing Portsmouth.

Just 16 senior players were available for Saturday’s FA Cup first-round tie against Harrow Borough.

Cowley said: "I think we know that from the players’ perspective there’s a high level of demand at a club like Portsmouth and it’s absolutely our responsibility to, in all of the provisions, support the first team and give them incredible support.

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“Because you can’t have high demand in an environment if you don’t match that with the same level of support.

“We have to keep making sure that we provide the players with that but football is a competitive game.

“When you’re in League One, you are playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday and, of course, when you have a smaller squad then the demand on those players gets even higher, ultimately.

”It’s a challenge for sure. Sometimes when you pick up some injuries as well there can be a domino effect because you pick up two or three and then you’re more reliant on the rest of the squad.

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“And then you overuse the rest of the squad and then you get in a vicious circle and that’s what we’re finding at the moment.

“But they are the cards we’ve been dealt and we’ve got to roll with the punches and do the best we can in this circumstance.”

League One rivals receive injury boost

Stephen Robinson hopes Aaron Wildig’s goal last weekend can kickstart a season beset by injuries and illness to the midfielder.

He said: “Credit goes to Aaron, not to me

“I was tempted to start Aaron. What he does give us is another bit of experience, he scores goals at this level

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“He scored a lot of goals last year but he’s been so unfortunate with injuries.

“Every time he gets near the first team, he gets an injury, he gets an illness, so hopefully his luck’s turned.

“I think he’s a really clever footballer that can play a big part for us going forward.”

He said: “That’s (goalscoring) invaluable at this level but, also, his communication; we’re a quiet side.

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“To have someone that speaks in midfield, that controls and actually understands the game; he understands, tactically, the game and it’s really good when you give him a message and he takes it on board.

“I’m delighted personally for him. He’s had a tough time and he’s worked hard to get himself fit again and, hopefully, we’ll get 90 minutes out of him on Tuesday.”