Sunderland desperately need players returning from injury as soon as possible as yet another season of struggle continues. Sebastian Larsson and Vito Mannone are hoping to return to action, which will bring back some hope, however small. Hope is needed, too, as the club have yet to win a league game so far this season.
Sunderland returning players give some hope
The news that Larsson is back in training is a shock to many. The Swede was not scheduled to return until the new year, after injuring his knee ligaments in training before the season began. The hope is that he will be available for first team selection within the next month, which is most welcome news.
The Swedish international has played an important role in recent seasons for the Black Cats. He has been involved in several relegation battles and his experience could prove invaluable as Sunderland once again battle at the wrong end of the table.
Challenge coming for current number one
Goalkeeper Mannone will now be pushing England Under-21 Jordan Pickford for the number one position as soon as he can. The Italian has been out since August after tearing his elbow ligaments, but he will be hoping to regain match fitness as soon as possible to regain his first team place.
This will be no easy task, however. Young shot-stopper Pickford has performed well this season, even though Sunderland have struggled. He is an established Under-21 international and was called up to Gareth Southgate’s first England squad. An interesting battle could be about to unfold.
Another Italian on the way back
There are also signs that forward Fabio Borini is not too far away from returning. The Italian has been out for several weeks and his return, along with Larsson and Mannone, will be a big boost to under-pressure manager David Moyes.
Sunderland need their experienced players back in the squad sooner rather than later. These players, along with others who are slowly recovering, will be a major boost if Moyes can keep his side within touching distance of the teams above them. It is, of course, a big “if”.
The Black Cats are currently rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table. Any positive news at this stage will be most welcome to their long-suffering fans. Every player needs to stay fit and play at his best if they are to perform yet another great escape. Maybe then it will become ever so slightly easier for fans to keep the faith.
The battle continues
In the meantime, a win must come along a lot sooner than later. Bournemouth away is up next, followed by a relegation six-pointer at home to Hull City. Failure to pick up points from these two games will not only heap more pressure onto Moyes, but it will also edge the men from Wearside that bit closer to relegation, even though it is only November.
Sunderland have had bad luck on the injury front this season. Key players such as Larsson, Mannone, Borini, Jan Kirchhoff and Lee Cattermole amongst others have been sidelined. If the Black Cats can keep up with other teams and get key players fit as soon as possible, they may just stand a chance of pulling off another escape. Yet another nail biting, frustrating season is certainly in full swing on Wearside.