This is when Sunderland striker Marc McNulty could return from injury
Frustrated Phil Parkinson has bemoaned Sunderland’s lack of quality in the final third – and revealed why Marc McNulty didn’t feature at Gillingham and when he could return.
The forward missed the 1-0 FA Cup first round replay defeat at Priestfield with a tight hamstring - Steve Evans’ side winning a drab contest in extra-time with the only shot on target of the match.
Parkinson confirmed there is no significant damage to the muscle and hasn’t ruled him out of featuring against Coventry City in League One on Saturday, with shot-shy Sunderland desperate for an attacking spark.
Reflecting on Sunderland’s defeat and the lack of goal threat, Parkinson said: “It’s deeply disappointing to go out of the FA Cup but I thought we competed well against a very physical team and we stood strong.
“Did we show enough quality? No we didn’t. There were times in the final third where our final pass wasn’t right.
"And then one moment has cost us in a tight game with very little in it.
“Chances were few and far between for both teams and you are just waiting for that bit of quality to win the game for you - obviously we hoped it would come from us, but it came from them instead.
“Particularly in the first half we got in some great positions but one cross went into the keeper’s arms and another we delayed it just a moment. Ultimately, those are the moments that decide football matches.”
McNulty missed the trip with a tight hamstring but Parkinson hasn’t yet ruled him out of the weekend despite initial fears he may miss a couple of weeks.
His forward options are severely depleted currently with Charlie Wyke also out injured, Sunderland relying on Will Grigg to lead the attack but his performances have dipped alarmingly in recent weeks.
On McNulty, Parkinson added: “Marc has got a tight hamstring.
“He has had a scan, there is no real damage to the muscle, which is good news but there is some tightness in there. Hopefully it will be resolved sooner rather than later.”
He added: “I think he has a chance for the weekend.”