In a recent interview, Kevin Phillips discussed the return of Sunderland centre-back, Bailey Wright, to Lee Johnson’s first-team.
Having only joined Sunderland on a permanent basis in the summer of last year, Wright was immediately installed in the heart of the Black Cats’ defence, with the 28-year-old even taking the captain’s armband on a number of occasions.
However, after suffering a calf injury back in February, the defender went on to miss 12 league fixtures for Johnson’s side, eventually making his return to action in the recent loss to Wigan Athletic.
And, speaking recently to Football Insider, Phillips claimed that Wright’s availability could prove to be a huge boost in Sunderland’s push for automatic promotion, despite the disappointing defeat at the DW Stadium.
He said: “It is definitely a big boost to have Wright fit, especially for the run-in. You do not want to have to make lots of changes so, hopefully, he can stay fit for the remainder of the season.
“There is still an opportunity to go up, whether that be automatically or in the playoffs. Wright’s return will certainly help their push for promotion. You need your best players fit at this stage of the season.”
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So far this season, Wright has highly impressed over his 27 League One appearances for Sunderland, with the centre-back making an average of one tackle, 0.7 interceptions and 5.1 clearances per game, culminating in an average WhoScored match rating of 7.04 – ranking him as the club’s joint third-best performer in the third tier.
As such, it would indeed appear as if the defender’s return to first-team football could not have come at a better time for Johnson and his side, with the Black Cats needing to make up five points in six games to secure automatic promotion to the Championship.
In other news: ‘I am sure’ – Super Kev backs Johnson to land two crucial Sunderland summer signings – find out more here!
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