ANOTHER SET BACK: Tony Mowbray says new injury means ‘key players’ will miss Watford game

TONY MOWBRAY does not anticipate any of Sunderland’s injured players to be fit for this week’s games against Watford or Sunderland, and has disclosed that another senior talent has joined the club’s absence list.

Mowbray’s team will play Watford at the Stadium of Light tomorrow night, but preparations have been hampered by the absence of a crucial player in the last 24 hours.
When speaking to the press at the Academy of Light, Sunderland manager Jack Ross refused to give any specifics, but admitted that he has been forced into a rearrangement that he would have like to avoid in the aftermath of last Friday’s outstanding performance against Sheffield Wednesday.

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“Without giving too much away, we had to make some tactical changes today,” said Mowbray, whose team ascended to fourth place in the table with the victory at Hillsborough. “You’ll see the team when it arrives, but there’s a big difference with the injury that was picked up.”

“As a result, we’ve had to rearrange the team to make it work.” We had to do this to ensure that we had enough guys assaulting and defending. Otherwise, players are moving too quickly in and out of possession, and the team’s balance is off. We’ve had to do a lot of tactical stuff, but this bunch embraces it. It’s encouraging that they desire to learn.

“The difficulties are always present. We’ve had an injury to a really important guy in the way we play, but let’s just keep going and see if we can keep the team’s fluency going.”

Aji Alese, Dennis Cirkin, Pierre Ekwah, and Bradley Dack all missed the triumph at Hillsborough after being absent for several weeks prior.

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The foursome is nearing the end of their various rehabilitation programs and has been gradually resuming training with the rest of the first-team group.

However, none have returned to full training, and while Mowbray will continue to discuss the situation with his medical team, he does not anticipate them to play in either tomorrow’s game against Watford or Saturday’s Wear-Tees derby against Middlesbrough.

“We’re not going to have anyone back for these next two games, I don’t think,” Mowbray stated. “The international break is approaching, and I believe that the two extra weeks will be extremely beneficial to Bradley and Pierre.”

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“They’ll be working out in the gym and rehabbing their injuries.” I’m confident that after the international break, we’ll be quite close to making some significant decisions. It might not be the Stoke game because some of these youngsters will need some Under-21 minutes first, but I believe the options will improve.

“There won’t be much rotation at the moment; the team on my board today, to be honest, picks itself.” Before you get into the younger teams, we have 20 players available.”

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