Sunderland midfielder Elliot Embleton has suffered a slight injury setback and has undergone another operation with his return now delayed.
Embleton, 24, made 23 Championship appearances for Sunderland last season. He scored twice and assisted three in the second tier before suffering a freak injury that ruled him out for the campaign.
The versatile midfielder can fill a gap on either side and down the middle, but Sunderland were unable to see the best of him last season.
The former Blackpool loanee fractured his ankle putting in a tackle which also saw him receive a red card against Hull City back in December.
Speaking to The Chronicle on Embleton’s current state, Tony Mowbray has admitted Embleton has suffered a minor setback and had to undergo a second operation. He said:
“Embo is getting there, we were going to take him to the US but we decided he probably wouldn’t have played any games.
“He’s had a slight setback, only a week or two, though, I think. He was feeling a bit of pain in the plate that had been inserted into his foot, and because he was feeling pain the surgeon decided to remove the plate because the fracture had healed.
“Now it is going to take a few weeks, maybe a month, for the scar of the removal of the plate to heal, but the fracture is OK so as soon as the operation side is sorted, he will be back playing. There’s just a timescale [for recovery] when you take a plate out of your foot.”
A handy option to have
Embleton splits the fanbase with his performances, but there’s no doubt that he’s a handy asset to have available. His versatility and ability to pop up with a goal or an assist from nowhere isn’t easy to come by, but there will be doubts over his ability to return to action straight away.
Sunderland have added depth in the midfield and that may make it hard for Embleton to get a run in the squad as things stand. That partnered with the fact the 24-year-old is coming off the back of a serious injury means there may be a decision to make on how to manage Embleton this season.
There’s still over a month left of the transfer window, so a loan move isn’t out of the realms of possibility, but for now Mowbray and Embleton will both be focussed on ensuring he returns to action as soon as possible this season.
It’ll be interesting to see what Sunderland do with their man this season as they try and push for another top six finish in the 2023/24 campaign.