How serious is Chris Maguire’s injury?
Chris Maguire went down injured early in the game on Tuesday, and despite attempting to play on it was abundantly clear that whatever was wrong with him was causing him a severe amount of pain.
When he first went down it looked terribly serious - he writhed in pain, punched the ground and then awkwardly hobbled around as he tried to walk it off. Despite his best efforts, he was brought off for Lynden Gooch and since then very little has been said about his injury.
Rumours have swirled on social media that the injury is far worse than the club first feared, but as of right now those are unconfirmed and we can only hope it’s far less serious than that.
Whatever the case may be, one of the first questions that Jack Ross should be asked is whether or not Maguire’s injury is as bad as some supporters fear.
Many fans are calling for Ozturk to be included - how seriously is he being considered?
He was the butt of many a joke earlier in the season, but after a shaky couple of performances at the start of August it would only be fair to say that Alim Ozturk has improved over the course of the season, both on the field and in terms of his fitness.
He’s started in each of Sunderland’s last four Checkatrade Trophy games, and in each we’ve kept clean sheets. He returned to the bench for Tuesday night’s game against Gillingham and, after yet another poor performance from Jimmy Dunne, some supporters are calling for the Turkish defender to return to the side alongside Tom Flanagan on Saturday.
How seriously does Ross view Ozturk as an option, though, is the question I’d like to hear the answer to. Jack Baldwin was removed from the last squad entirely for his own good after an absolute shocker against Accrington, and Dunne looks every bit the young, inexperienced defender we knew we were getting, and I’m not sure playing him every week is doing him any good at the minute. Could Ozturk really do any worse, particularly in an away game where we’re going to be under the cosh for large periods of the game?
I’d suggest not. Alim deserves his chance as much as the next man, though I do unfortunately feel he’s not considered as a first team option while others - despite poor performances from each - are fit and able to play.
How close to fitness is Bryan Oviedo?
The workrate and determination of Reece James cannot be faulted, but in the last three games I think he’s been exposed at both ends of the pitch, leading me to wonder whether Bryan Oviedo will be restored to the side when fit.
That’s not to suggest that Oviedo is perfect, because he certainly isn’t, but having spent a lot of money on a new centre forward in January we’d be daft not to get our more creative players into the team, creating a healthy supply line to first-choice striker Will Grigg.
The positives of Oviedo far outweigh those of Reece James and, for me, he has to start when fit. We’re led to believe that Oviedo works just as hard in training as everyone else and causes very little in the way of fuss, so even despite his failed deadline day move to West Brom we should be considering him for starts in the just the same way we do everyone else.
Oviedo is an asset to our side in the final third, and with Jack Ross adopting a more narrow attack in the last game it would make sense to then get someone on the left hand side doing the same job that Luke O’Nien did against Gillingham.
So... is Oviedo fit enough to be considered for selection on Saturday? We can only hope.