Sunderland box-to-box midfielder Didier Ndong is set to make his much-anticipated return from injury having missed out on first team action for the entirety of the last five weeks.
New manager Chris Coleman has not yet been able to call upon the Gabon international’s services since arriving almost a month ago, instead mixing around his central midfield partnerships as he strives to find a pairing which can operate successfully.
Lee Cattermole was stupidly dismissed after picking up two bookings in quick succession against Wolves last weekend and will, as a result, miss out tomorrow when Slaviša Jokanović’s Fulham head to Wearside in what is a huge game for Coleman’s side.
Now that Ndong has fully recovered from the injury he apparently sustained when away in his homeland during the last international break, it is almost certain that the former Lorient man will start alongside a resurgent Darron Gibson in the heart of the Sunderland midfield.
Speaking with the press, Coleman said:
Didier Ndong has trained this week, and looks good. He looks fit, but he’s been out for five weeks with no football. He’s a naturally fit boy though, and he’s trained well.
The Welshman also offered up an update on the fitness of Paddy McNair, Bryan Oviedo and Billy Jones, stating that the trio may well need another week of rehabilitation before getting back involved with the first team:
Paddy McNair is not available unfortunately. He trained at the start of the week, but he’s still feeling his groin, so he’ll be unavailable. Bryan Oviedo will be another week or so, and the same with Billy Jones.
Billy will need some football before he gets back on the pitch with us, but he’s doing well with his rehab and could be ready to join in training with us next week.
Sunderland’s core has been missing the type of dynamism and energy that Ndong can provide, and his return will be a welcome boost to a side that has suffered horrendously with injuries so far this season.
With rumours abound that Ndong will be one of the players that the club will look to move out in the coming January transfer window, both the club and the player will be looking to maximise his minutes on the pitch as he bids to impress potential suitors.
Though Ndong has immense worth to our side when fit, the further strengthening of our squad - a crucial factor if we are to stay up this season - may well depend on his sale.