Sunderland: Tony Mowbray on Alex Pritchard’s injury
TONY Mowbray says the calf injury that ruled Alex Pritchard out of Wednesday night’s win over Watford is only a minor problem – but he still expects the forward to miss the visit of Middlesbrough.
Mowbray hasn’t definitely ruled Pritchard out of Saturday’s game but says he’s reluctant to “gamble”, particularly when the Wear-Tees derby is followed by a fortnight international break. He’d rather let the injury completely recover.
“Pritch is probably is unlikely for the weekend, he’s got a slight calf strain,” explained Mowbray.
“Calf strains, they’re really delicate things, if you gamble you probably have a calf that tears rather than it being a little niggle, and it will be touch and go to see whether he can make it. I’ll have a chat with him and if he feels OK…
“The scan was very minimal but it showed damage so collectively we felt it was best he leaves it. There’s an international break coming up but we haven’t nailed down Saturday yet, we’ll wait and see how he feels and how he trains.”
What also eased the pressure on rushing Pritchard back was Abdoullah Ba’s display against the Hornets. The winger was lively throughout and scored the second goal in a comfortable 2-0 win, staking a strong claim to keep his place in the team against Boro.
Ba had to settle for a bit-part role in his first season at the Stadium of Light but has enjoyed a promising start to this campaign. Mowbray has never questioned the 20-year-old’s attributes and is excited about the winger’s potential now he’s starting to add final product to his game.
“He’s got fantastic athleticism,” Mowbray added. I’m happy for him because he’s broken over any barrier of trying to interrupt Roberts or Clarke every week. Last season, we used the same lineup every week, with Amad doing his duties on the right side of the field.
“I think he’s a threat now; he’s strong in the air and has a great spring.” He can run all day, he’s quick and mobile. He only needs to focus on his final project. He scored tonight, so that answers the question of whether we need more assists and goal attempts.”