Sport ‘Huge call’ – Lee Johnson explains selection decision regarding Sunderland player ahead of play-offs
Lee Johnson sends clear message to his Sunderland players after more dropped points
Sunderland failed to win for a sixth consecutive game as they were held to a 3-3 draw against Accrington yesterday, with Lee Johnson demanding that his team ‘toughen up’. Automatic promotion seemed a realistic possibility at the start of the month but the poor run means the Black Cats have to settle for a play-off […]Automatic promotion seemed a realistic possibility at the start of the month but the poor run means the Black Cats have to settle for a play-off place.
Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson hashe faces a ‘huge call’ in regards to centre-back Tom Flanagan’s participation for the club in the League One play-offs.
The Black Cats’ opponents for the end of season knockout were confirmed today as Lincoln City, with Sunderland finishing in fourth place after a 1-1 draw with relegated Northampton Town at the Stadium of Light.
They slipped away from an automatic promotion battle in recent weeks after not winning in six league outings, and that form has seen them slip to where they have in the table, but they will have home advantage in the second leg of the semi-final against the Imps.
Johnson must unleash 'perfect' Sunderland starlet, he could thrive in the play-offs - opinion
Having seen him impress for Sunderland’s U23 side so far this season, Lee Johnson should unleash Josh Hawkes over the coming weeks in a bid to help his side secure promotion from League One. Having joined Sunderland from Hartlepool United last summer – a club where the attacking midfielder scored 13 goals and registered one […]Having joined Sunderland from Hartlepool United last summer – a club where the attacking midfielder scored 13 goals and registered one assist over 63 appearances – Hawkes has so far made just one appearance for Johnson’s first team, with the 22-year-old playing the full 90 of the club’s 2-1 defeat to Fleetwood Town in the EFL Trophy back in November.
After injury scares last week, Johnson welcomed both Charlie Wyke and Aiden McGeady back into the fold, but it’s at the back where the real concerns lie.
Dion Sanderson was recently ruled out for the rest of the season as well as Jordan Willis, which has meant Luke O’Nien is still filling in in the middle of defence.
Johnson could do with a natural centre-back returning though and he’s sweating on the fitness of Flanagan, who hasn’t played since the EFL Trophy final in mid-March against Tranmere.
Flanagan has sufferedsince then but Johnson had hoped to have the Northern Ireland international in the team against the Cobblers today, but it didn’t materialise.
He’s now sweating on his availability ahead of the play-offs and if he’s fit he may be thrown straight into the mix against Michael Appleton’s side.
Ryan Lowe makes claim about Lee Johnson’s position ahead of Plymouth’s clash with Sunderland
Plymouth Argyle manager Ryan Lowe has admitted he would not want to be in the position his Sunderland counterpart Lee Johnson finds himself in at this moment in time. Sunderland face Lowe’s Plymouth side at Home Park on Saturday afternoon, having failed to win any of their last seven games. That run has ended the […]Sunderland face Lowe’s Plymouth side at Home Park on Saturday afternoon, having failed to win any of their last seven games.
“It’s a difficult one with Tom,” Johnson admitted, per the.
“The timing of it means that you’re chasing it but he’s got to feel right and be right.
“I would have liked to have seen him in the game today in an ideal world, but that came a little bit early.
“We’ve got to make a serious call, whatever they might be, on three or four of the lads.”
Johnson could definitely do with nursing Flanagan back to fitness for the play-offs in 10 days time as if one of Bailey Wright or O’Nien go down with an injury then there’s no-one else to turn to.
Flanagan has only made 16 league appearances this season and like many Black Cats defenders has struggled with injuries.
But his experience could be vital in the next few weeks and after Sunderland’s recent struggles, he could be the calming influence needed.
Lost possession 20x: Sunderland's reckless £5k-p/w flop hugely failed Johnson vs Imps - opinion .
Sunderland midfielder Lynden Gooch had something of a shocker on Wednesday evening as Sunderland slipped up in their play-off semi-final first leg. Having picked up four points against Lincoln City over their two meetings in the regular League One season, with a thumping 4-0 victory at the LNER Stadium back in December and a 1-1 […]Having picked up four points against Lincoln City over their two meetings in the regular League One season, with a thumping 4-0 victory at the LNER Stadium back in December and a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light in March, Lee Johnson’s Sunderland side could well have gone into Wednesday’s clash against Michael Appleton’s outfit believing they held the upper hand over the Imps.