Team News: Johnson gives fitness update

Lee Johnson has given a fitness update ahead of Saturday’s return to the Stadium of Light against Portsmouth.


The Head Coach began by claiming that there were several contact knocks in Wednesday morning’s training session, but assured it should not affect his selection options for the weekend.


“We must have had about nine little contact knocks in training today,” Johnson said.


“They’re nothing serious and nothing to worry about in terms of Saturday’s game, but I’m of course always on edge in training sessions because we’re so light at the moment.


“But we’re on the right track – players are returning from Covid and from injuries – Leon Dajaku is back available, and Corry Evans was out last weekend but will hopefully be in contention for this week.”


The gaffer confirmed in his press conference that new recruit Danny Batth will be in contention to make his Sunderland debut against Danny Cowley’s Pompey, and said the parallel returns and absences among his squad resemble a ‘juggling act’.


“Danny is available for selection, yes. Alex Pritchard and Bailey Wright came away from training this morning not 100% from their knocks, but hopefully they should be fine for Saturday.


“It’s a bit of a juggling act at the moment, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you our team or our shape because as it stands, we’re going to have to be flexible going into the game.


“But as I say, we’re getting stronger. That applies in the long term too – Luke O’Nien and Aiden McGeady are both back on the grass. If you listen to Luke, he wants to come back quicker than anyone ever has from an injury like his, and I wouldn’t put it past him. He’ll have laser focus on his rehab; Geads has tentatively joined in light training, so we’re building his physical fitness and monitoring that medial ligament.”

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