April 19, 2024

Nazariy Rusyn remains a major doubt for Sunderland’s trip to Millwall with Tony Mowbray admitting he has a difficult decision to make as to who leads the line on Saturday afternoon.

Rusyn was absent from the squad as Sunderland fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield Town on Wednesday night, with the Ukrainian likely to test whether he can overcome his groin issue in training on Friday.

Mowbray turned to Eliezer Mayenda in Rusyn’s absence and while he is impressed with what he has seen so far, he admits it would be a big risk to start him in back-to-back games.

That could bring Mason Burstow or Luis Hemir in line for a start, or Mowbray could turn to a false nine as he was forced to do for much of last season.
“We’ve seen in flashes what Eliezer can do,” Mowbray said. “He’s got power and speed, and it’s just a case of understanding how we play. The bottom line is he hasn’t had a chance to train with us much because he’s been injured for so long, on day one he basically took his hamstring off the bone and he was out for a long spell after that.

“The little flashes we’ve seen in training is probably similar to what you’ve seen in the games, there is talent there.

“For us, there’s red flags for us in that he’s been out for months and then had parts of two games this week. It’s a big, big call to throw him in for the third game – because there is a risk with that hamstring. We have a duty of care to him and we’ll make that call over the next day or so.

“We do have other options, though Nazariy is a doubt with that groin problem. He might try and train with us today [Friday], we’ll wait and see on that one. As you know, Mason was having an issue with his foot that kept him out of the Plymouth game. But I expect him to train today so there will be options for me – I’ll make a decision after training as to what route we go down.”

Sunderland will otherwise have the same squad for Saturday’s game, with Jewison Bennette back at the Academy of Light following a virus but not yet eligible for selection.

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