WITH Sunderland already up against it with injuries to attacking players, manager Lee Johnson was left pondering his options with Elliot Embleton set to be suspended for Tuesday night against Crewe Alexandra.

Embleton was given a straight red card for a lunging challenge on Jack Tucker when Sunderland were 2-1 up against Gillingham but the Black Cats held on for the win. 

The midfielder will now be missing for the game. They also are struggling with injuries to Nathan Broadhead, Aiden McGeady, Lynden Gooch and Leon Dajaku. 

Manager Lee Johnson will ponder his options over the red card but feels the referee was indecsive throughout the game at the Priestfield Stadium.

“I’m not sure we can appeal, we’ll have a look at it" Johnson said.

“It is what the referee interprets as dangerous play, he thought it was high and I spoke to him after the game.

“Both the fourth official and linesman who were in front of me said yellow. I could hear them talking down the mic.

“For some reason he seemed to be really trigger happy in the second half with throw-ins and free-kicks.

“It is a disappointing one because we have enough injuries as it is and we don’t want to lose another key player.”

While it wasn't the most comprehensive performance from Sunderland, they did enough to win the game having gone down to ten men. 

The victory means they remain fourth in the League One table. 

Only the result will matter for the Black Cats but Johnson added that Gillingham made the game difficult for them.

Johnson added: "I think they dropped off and sometimes it can appear a little bit boring.

“Everytime we did get an opportunity to execute the final ball the quality wasn’t there.

“We actually played some quite nice patterns but maybe not as quick as we normally do.

“It wasn’t a bad pitch but it was left a little bit longer so it perhaps doesn’t slide through like ice hockey, it sort of tumble weeds across.

“I wasn’t pleased with the first half performance but I was very pleased with the timing of the goal and it allowed us to be objective and not emotive at half time.

“We needed to quicken our feet and to be fair I thought the first 25 minutes of the second half we were excellent.“