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News: Sunderland receive huge boost as Tom Flanagan ditches Northern Ireland to play on Saturday

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Sunderland have received a huge boost as Tom Flanagan has been granted permission to return to Wearside from international duty in order to play against Wycombe tomorrow afternoon.

Sunderland AFC

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has confirmed that Tom Flanagan has been allowed to go back to Wearside in order to play in our game this weekend with Wycombe Wanderers.

It’s a welcome boost to Sunderland manager Jack Ross, who is now able to name the same back five that has managed to keep four consecutive clean sheets in League One.

Flanagan was named as part of Northern Ireland’s squad for last night’s friendly with the Republic of Ireland and Sunday’s Nations League game with Austria, but with game time for him unlikely he’s been granted permission to leave in order to take to the field for his club.

O’Neill said:

I think the team is getting stronger, there’s a youthfulness about it and maybe more pace than there has been. In terms of the game on Sunday we’ll see where we go but what I do have is 28 players.

We’ve let Tom Flanagan go back to Sunderland to play on Saturday but there’ a bunch of lads desperate to play.

We’ll probably make a few changes for Sunday. I know everyone will be itching to play.

It’s a blow to Glenn Loovens and Alim Ozturk, who will have both been hoping to get a chance to play in the game through Flanagan’s absence, but with the lads in such good form it’s an understandable move from Ross which allows him to keep together a side that are on an impressive run of form as of late.

Northern Ireland v New Zealand - International Friendly Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images