LEE JOHNSON has told Remi Matthews not to be afraid of making further mistakes in the wake of the goalkeeping error that proved so costly as Sunderland were beaten at Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night.

Matthews was at fault for Shrewsbury’s first goal as his failure to collect Donald Love’s cross resulted in Ethan Ebanks-Landell being able to head home from close range.

The error appeared to affect the 27-year-old, who was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up ahead of Lee Burge, and he would have conceded an even more embarrassing goal as he allowed a tame free-kick to squirm through his grasp had it not been for an offside flag from the assistant.

Johnson must decide whether to stick with Matthews or recall Burge for this afternoon’s home game with Doncaster Rovers, but if he goes with the former option, he will be urging his goalkeeper not to retreat into his shell.

The Sunderland boss played with David James during his time at Bristol City, and cites the former England international as the perfect example of a goalkeeper who made mistakes, but whose errors were an acceptable trade-off for his boldness and decisiveness in the 18-yard box.

“The first part is admitting it and holding your hands up, and they’ve (Matthews and Burge) been good like that,” said Johnson. “But then it’s my job to support the players. Yes, I’ve got to tell them home truths and make sure we demand things, but at the same time, between myself and my coaching staff, we have to accept that goalkeeper is a perilous position. You make one tiny little error and you’re punished.

“Remi’s error was actually a very bold error. I played with David James, who must have dropped 100 of those type of crosses, but at the same time he probably caught 10,000 and set us off attacking. I don’t mind the bold mistakes. I think the reaction to the mistake is important as well – not only from the individual, but also from the team because we are a family and I think you have to create that cause.

“It’s gone now, it’s as simple as that. You can’t be held at gunpoint because of a mistake you’ve made in a football match, particularly as a goalkeeper because it’s the way of life for a goalkeeper. You’ve seen it in the Premier League at the moment – top, top goalkeepers, internationals, really getting scrutinised. It’s just part of the position, and something you’ve got to deal with.”

Ross Stewart will not feature this afternoon after suffering a recurrence of the hamstring injury he sustained prior to joining Sunderland from Ross County. Jordan Willis is also unavailable after rupturing his patella tendon on Tuesday, a setback that will rule him out for the rest of the season.

Sunderland (probable, 4-4-2): Matthews; Power, Sanderson, Wright, Vokins; Diamond, Scowen, Leadbitter, McGeady; O’Brien, Wyke.