Aiden McGeady is expected to be the next of Sunderland’s long-term absentees to return – but it’s still between four and six weeks before making a comeback.
The Black Cats have had to deal with a long list of injuries in recent months, and while Corry Evans, Denver Hume, Dennis Cirkin have recently returned to action, McGeady, Nathan Broadhead, Luke O’Nien and Niall Huggins remain at away for extended periods, while Jordan Willis is out for the season.
McGeady has not played since suffering knee ligament damage in Sunderland’s draw at Shrewsbury on November 23, with boss Lee Johnson revealing days later that the former Republic of Ireland international would be absent between two and three months.
READ MORE: Sunderland plans to recall Jack Diamond and Josh Hawkes in January transfer window
The 35-year-old is progressing well in his recovery but is still far from a comeback.
“Carl Winchester missed the last two games with a calf problem but it’s a minor injury, and after that Aiden is probably the next one you’d want to check off in terms of a comeback but I wouldn’t say he’s close for the moment, ”Johnson said.
“Exactly how long he will have, I don’t know, but I think it will be at least four to six weeks for sure.
“He’s still not comfortable. He’s not running yet.
“He’s been in a brace for a few weeks and then got out.
“He feels very stiff in that knee, which is actually a good thing because it’s a sign of healing, that sagging goes away and he gets stiffer.
“Then it’s the process of strength in the gym, and then it’s about developing that confidence on the grass to twist and turn, because his footwork and skills are a big part of his game.
“He’ll have to be sure it’s not just hanging from a thread, if you will.”
McGeady’s absence has deprived Sunderland of one of their most trusted supply lines, but the Black Cats haven’t allowed that to interfere with their promotion challenge.
For the latest Sunderland news delivered straight to your inbox, go here to sign up for our free newsletter