Team news: Duo set to return

Jack Ross will have Tom Flanagan and Reece James at his disposal once again this weekend.

The defensive duo missed Sunderland’s midweek stalemate at Barnsley through injury.

Flanagan was ruled out with concussion after taking a heavy knock to the head in last Saturday’s draw at Wycombe Wanderers while James also picked up a niggle which kept him out of the trip to Oakwell. 

However, following a period of recovery time at the Academy of Light, the duo are in good shape to return to action.

“We have no new injury concerns,” Ross said. 

“We had a number unavailable for our midweek trip to Barnsley, but we have since had Tom Flanagan, George Honeyman and Reece James join back in with training. 

“George continues to be out through suspension, but Reece and Tom are back fit and training.”

He continued: “At this stage of the season the pressure increases all the time as the games become less. You have to be at your freshest, both physically and mentally. There’s a variance of the teams I’ve played this season, some I didn’t play at the start of the season, but I play now. 

“It’s a case of managing the players through this period and there will be times when that’s reflected in my team selection and times when it will be reflected by the players who are fit and healthy to play. 

“We have nine games in a very short space of time after the cup final and we are going to need all of the squad very much to help us get through that period.”

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