One sad piece of news from last week was that Elliot Embleton had suffered another unfortunate injury while on loan at Derby County. Initially, he endured some serious ankle ligament damage while playing for us in a 1-1 draw at Hull last December, all because of a tackle that earned him a red card.
After being sidelined for the rest of the 2022-23 season, he had put in a lot of effort to recover and build up his fitness for the start of the new season. To help regain his match fitness, he was sent on loan to Derby County.
In his brief spell there, he made appearances in a couple of games. First, as a 38th-minute substitute in a home draw against Portsmouth, and then starting in their EFL trophy match against Portsmouth. After such a prolonged absence last season, Derby had hoped to manage and improve the fitness of a player who played a crucial role in our promotion from League One.
However, while taking a corner during a light training session, Elliot suffered a torn quadriceps, which left Derby manager Paul Warne reporting that the player was devastated and tearful. He has since returned to Sunderland to undergo rehabilitation and may even require surgery. Unfortunately, his loan spell with the Rams, which was supposed to last until January, is now effectively over.
This is a cruel blow for a player who spent the second half of last season recovering from a serious injury and worked hard during the pre-season to get himself back into a position to play again.
Despite making his debut for Sunderland in the disastrous 2017-18 relegation season - where he made a lasting impression in the last-day 3-0 win over Wolves - it took until the 2021-22 promotion campaign for him to secure a regular place in the starting lineup. This was due, in no small part, to various injuries during that period, particularly during Phil Parkinson’s tenure as manager when he could have been in contention for a starting spot.
More bad luck came his way during the 2020-21 season. Despite working his way into the squad and being set to start in Lee Johnson’s first match in charge, he was replaced by Aiden McGeady, who returned from his lengthy exile on the morning of the game. This decision led to some friction between the player and the manager, so when Blackpool offered to take him on loan for the rest of the season, he seized the opportunity.
By all accounts, he made a significant contribution to Blackpool’s successful promotion campaign from League One that season, while Sunderland remained stuck in the division.
However, in the following season, with more games under his belt and boosted confidence, he became a key part of our squad as we finally climbed out of League One.
I’m sure all our fans join me in wishing Elliot the best in his recovery. He’s never let us down, and we’ll be eagerly awaiting his return to the pitch.
Chin up, Elliot! In the meantime, here’s a clip showcasing what he does best, helping us get out of League One in the process.