Will Grigg has returned to Sunderland for treatment after being ruled out of Northern Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Estonia and Belarus through injury.
The 27-year-old striker, capped 13 times, had been recalled to Michael O’Neill’s squad after also missing the last three games of last year through injury.
The nature of the problem is thought to be a recurrence of the ankle injury he picked up while still at Wigan in January.
The news will come as a worry to Sunderland fans ahead of the EFL Trophy final with Portsmouth not to mention their bid for automatic promotion from League One.
Sunderland will hope Grigg’s injury isn’t too serious, and that the striker, who netted the winner against Walsall last time out, will be fit for the Wembley final and the vital League One run-in.
Manager Jack Ross is already without Duncan Watmore for the rest of the season after he suffered ankle ligament damage at the end of the recent draw at Wycombe Wanderers.
Grigg has netted three times in ten appearances so far for Sunderland since his big money January move from Wigan Athletic.
Speaking to the press ahead of the game Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill told the Belfast Telegraph. ‘Will has never really had a run for us. He’s been carrying the ankle injury since January. It was in his best interests to let him go back to his club and receive treatment.’
If I were a Sunderland fan, I wouldn’t be too concerned.
Grigg might be a cult hero for the Green and White Army, but his appearance record is not impressive.
Reading between the lines of O’Neill’s press conference it would appear the player was keen to get back to Sunderland.
The Black Cats have a punishing eight league games in April, and its no surprise they didn’t want to risk Grigg in an international match.
I expect Grigg to be in the starting line-up when Sunderland walk out at Wembley on March 31 for the EFL Trophy final.