Senior player injuries have plagued Sunderland this season; at least one month has been missed by Aji Alese, Niall Huggins, Dennis Cirkin, Jenson Seelt, Corry Evans, Elliot Embleton, Patrick Roberts, Jack Clarke, Pierre Ekwah, Bradley Dack, and Nazariy Rusyn.

The absence of key players has undoubtedly impacted the performance of Sunderland’s notably youthful squad, and only now are we witnessing the gradual return of some of their prominent figures. Aji Alese, after contending with two lengthy injuries, has made two brief appearances in recent weeks, while Bradley Dack, Jack Clarke, and Patrick Roberts have all marked their comebacks.

One player sorely missed is Dennis Cirkin, who has seen limited action this season, with just eight appearances to his name. The full-back played a crucial role in the past two seasons, notably scoring a brace against West Brom to aid Sunderland’s push for the playoffs last year. However, his time at the Stadium of Light has been plagued by injuries, and he hasn’t featured in a match since the beginning of November.


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Dennis Cirkin on the verge of return

Cirkin is expected to sit out the return match at The Hawthorns, but according to the Sunderland Echo, there are reports suggesting he might be poised to make an appearance against Millwall next weekend.

Mike Dodds indicated after the Blackburn Rovers defeat that Cirkin was still a couple of weeks away from returning, implying that we might witness him making a brief appearance against The Lions.

Despite the positive outlook, it’s worth noting that the left-back hasn’t been in the starting lineup since September and hasn’t participated in U23s action either. This suggests that it’s improbable for him to have significant involvement before the season concludes.

The report suggests that Sunderland might exercise extra caution considering his extended period on the sidelines.

With Alese, Leo Hjelde, and Callum Styles now available options for the remaining four matches, Dodds might perceive reintroducing Cirkin as too risky, especially given that there’s nothing significant at stake for the team.

What have we been missing without the ex-Spurs man?

Dennis Cirkin’s absence has been keenly felt this season, particularly considering the attacking threat he posed last season. His ability to contribute five goals last term significantly bolstered our left flank, allowing him to effectively overlap with Jack Clarke, a dynamic that Leo Hjelde hasn’t quite replicated.

Looking ahead, having Cirkin and Aji Alese as our two left-back options could potentially be a game-changer next season. However, the challenge lies in their injury proneness. If we can manage to keep them fit, whoever fills Jack Clarke’s position this summer could have a much more fruitful time on the left side.

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