A positive development has emerged regarding the fitness of Sunderland defender Niall Huggins as he recovers from a minor knock…
What’s the latest on Niall Huggins’ injury?
Black Cats manager Tony Mowbray has revealed that the full-back is back on the training pitch but will not be rushed back into action as the team prepares to play Bristol City in the Championship this weekend.
Speaking at his press conference, the Sunderland boss said: “We’re trying to manage the players’ workload at the minute and assessing a few – it’s about getting the balance right. Niall Huggins was back on the grass, but we’ll be easing him back in with a week’s training.”
Mowbray then provided an update on the rest of the squad, saying: “Lynden Gooch will hopefully be ready in another couple of weeks – he’s still in the treatment room, but fingers crossed it won’t be too long before he’s back involved.
“We have the longer-term absentees in Corry Evans, Elliot Embleton and Ross Stewart, but apart from that everyone seems okay.”
Big boost for Sunderland
The return of Huggins in the coming days and weeks is set to be a big boost for Sunderland, as the 22-year-old is a quality versatile option for Mowbray to call upon in the final three months of the campaign.
With the likes of Gooch, Dennis Cirkin and Aji Alese all missing for periods through injury this season, it is important for the club to have depth in the full-back positions, and the Welshman can play on either side of the pitch.
In his short career so far, the youngster has played an equal number of matches at left-back and right-back, demonstrating has the versatility to play on either flank, which means that he can cover multiple positions for the manager.
Is Huggins’ return a big boost?
The Wales under-21 international, who made his Premier League debut for Leeds in 2020/21, played at left-back in the Black Cats’ 2-1 win over Birmingham earlier this season and caught the eye with four clearances, one interception and two tackles. In two games in League One last term, the defender averaged 2.5 tackles and interceptions per match and completed 80% of his attempted passes.
Huggins also showcased his attacking quality in the Carabao Cup last season by creating three chances and setting up one goal in two appearances, whilst also making 3.5 tackles and interceptions per game.
These statistics show that. when fit, the 22-year-old has the ability to offer plenty to the team both offensively and defensively, and that is why the dynamo’s return will be a big boost for Mowbray.
The Sunderland boss will surely be pleased to have a player as versatile as Huggins in order to provide strong competition for places, while it also means that an injury or two to the current first-choice options would not overly derail the team.