LEE Johnson admits that Sunderland are very short on numbers in the squad with slow progress in the transfer market and mounting injuries. 

The Black Cats are just over two weeks away from the beginning of the League One season and have a number of players on the treatment table. 

New signing Alex Pritchard is currently serving a period of self isolation after contracting Covid while Luke O'Nien has been out of action but is expected to return soon. 

The manager told media last night that defender Bailey Wright missed the 1-1 friendly draw with York City due to a groin injury. 

Recent speculation suggested that Bailey has been linked with a move to Wigan Athletic. 

The club have signed Pritchard, Corry Evans and Callum Doyle but Johnson acknowledges the need for more bodies through the door before the league opener against Wigan Athletic at the Stadium of Light on 7th August. 

“It’s hard to put a number on because every individual that you bring in has a domino effect to then what goes on.

“We’ve got three or four not here if you think Bailey Wright and his groin, Pritch (Alex Pritchard) with his Covid stuff and Luke O’Nien will be available now as of Saturday.

“But I think we need a few, I’ll be honest with you. If you gave me six, I’ll take six. I’d take four if they’re high quality and not quantity but I think we need a few.

“If you look a centre-halves for example, we are in the market for a centre-half. It’s because Arby (Arbinet Xhemajli) is out until probably January at the best when we can really start judging him properly.

“You’ve got to give him the space to develop the muscles around the knee and build his way in and build his confidence. It was a bad one that.

“Obviously you’ve got Luke O’Nien that can obviously fill in if you need to.

“I think naturally there’s interest in our players as there has been either with the ones we release at the end of the season or the ones we’ve got.

“We take every decision on it’s merits but for the benefit of Sunderland first and foremost."

The Black Cats next pre-season friendly is this weekend away to Harrogate Town on Saturday.