According to The Sunderland Echo, returning star Duncan Watmore picked up a slight injury against Newcastle under-21s yesterday.
Manager Jack Ross said that the 24-year-old winger picked up a groin strain against their rivals, but does not expect it to be anything too serious.
Watmore has been ravaged by injury over the past few seasons, where he has missed almost 100 games for The Black Cats, and has seen them slip from the Premier League to League One.
The trouble with long-term injuries is that a player has a propensity to pick up a number of new injuries upon their return. This groin injury for Watmore is perhaps an indication that he could be susceptible to this same fate. It may take a while before the winger can remain injury free for a sustained period.
This will disappoint Ross as well as the Sunderland fans as Watmore has become a fan-favourite during his time at the Stadium of Light. However, there is the feeling that he cannot be relied upon in The Black Cats’ title push. He should be deemed more of a luxury throughout the course of the season, rather than a figure that can be relied upon week on week. When he plays, it will be great for Sunderland, but the team or game plan should not be built around him.
What Sunderland would want most is to get the best out of Watmore for years to come, and by forcing him back into action quickly they run the risk of doing greater long-term damage to him. They should give him the rest of the season to work his way back to fitness, ready for next campaign, which fans will hope will be in the Championship.
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