Sunderland have been handed a huge injury lift over attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard…
What’s the latest?
Black Cats boss Alex Neil has provided an update on the diminutive playmaker’s situation as he recovers from a knock.
He has been out of action since sustaining a blow in the 0-0 draw with Charlton in League One at the start of the month.
BBC Radio Newcastle Tweeted: “Alex Pritchard is still out but Alex Neil says the injury won’t keep the midfielder out as long as first feared.”
The Sunderland boss will be buzzing with this as the sooner he has Pritchard back and available the better for the club. He is a key player to the side and that is why this update comes as a major boost.
The former Tottenham man has proven his quality in League One throughout the campaign. He has averaged an impressive SofaScore rating of 7.08 in the division across 32 appearances, showing that he has consistently delivered superb displays and maintained a high level.
Pritchard has provided four goals and seven assists whilst creating two chances per match. This shows that he has the ability to make things happen in the final third as he has been able to change games with his goals and assists.
His creativity is, therefore, a big miss in his absence and Neil will be delighted to have him back sooner than he expected to. He has been able to tee up his teammates on a regular basis and unlock defences with his vision and passing, which is why the fans will be keen to see him back as he is a joy to watch at his best as he jinks past players and threads balls through for other attackers.
His availability will be key in the final weeks of the season as the race for a top-six finish intensifies. The Black Cats are fifth in the league table as it stands but have played two games more than Plymouth and Sheffield Wednesday – who are one point and two points behind them.
This highlights the difficult position Sunderland are in and why getting Pritchard back earlier than was initially feared is a major boost. Having his quality on the ball will improve the club’s chances of making the play-offs as he has shown that he can be a difference-maker at the top end of the pitch.