PHIL PARKINSON expects to have Grant Leadbitter available for Saturday’s trip to Oxford United despite the midfielder having been struggling for most of the week with a dead leg.

George Dobson will miss the trip to the Kassam Stadium after he was sent off in the closing stages of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers.

Either Leadbitter or Josh Scowen is set to replace him at the heart of midfield, and while neither player took part in full training earlier today, they should both be available in two days’ time.

“There’s nothing major to have to worry about,” said Parkinson. “Grant Leadbitter picked up a dead leg earlier in the week, but he should be okay.

“Josh Scowen has not been with us today, he’s had a family bereavement and is at a funeral. But everybody else has been fine, which is good.

“George is out, but we’ve got players to come in. We’ve said right from the start that getting Grant back has been a real plus for us, and there’s obviously Josh too, who is pushing hard for a place as well. We’ve got options. We’ve got Goochy (Lynden Gooch) who hasn’t started yet, and young Dan Neil, so we’ve got plenty of options.”

Elliot Embleton will add his name to the midfield mix once he completes his recovery from injury, although the youngster will need a couple of outings with Sunderland’s Under-23s before he is considered for senior duty.

“Elliot is getting closer to returning, but we just want to make sure that he’s right,” said Parkinson. “He’s going to need some Under-23 games before he’s ready for selection.”