SUNDERLAND manager Lee Johnson is looking forward to this extended period without a game and says it will go a long way to getting his squad back to full fitness.

The Black Cats have struggled with injury to a number of first team players in recent weeks which has coincided with a loss of form in the league. They’ve lost three League One matches in a row before the recent international break where they’ve had to chop and change their starting line-ups due to injury.

Sunderland aren’t back in action now until Ipswich Town make the trip to the Stadium of Light next Saturday. There is now a six point game to league leaders Wigan Athletic.

The manager admits it’s ample time for him and the players to get the necessary breather to help them get back to their best.

Johnson said: “I think that it’s easily turnaroundable. We’ve got good players. We fully believe in what we are doing and the process in what we are doing.

“Little things will start to swing. We’ve got 14 days from the last game to go and rest and recuperate. We had a fair few knocks and niggles. We’ve got people like Aiden (O’Brien) who has been playing two or three games on the spin.

“Ross Stewart, with his shoulder, is now getting analysed by the surgeons and potentially might have to be injected to lighten that load on the shoulder.

“(Lynden) Gooch now back. Embo (Elliot Embleton) a little bit rusty but back and played a good ball for the goal. Pritch (Alex Pritchard) got 90 minutes.

“We should be in a position of strength in terms of our squad health come a week Saturday.”

Tuesday night saw Sunderland seal a home tie in the next round of the Papa John’s Trophy after a 1-1 draw with League Two Bradford City. They ended up losing the tie 4-2 on penalties.

Nathan Broadhead, a striker who has struggled with injury this season, got himself on the scoresheet at the Stadium of Light to bring the game level in the second half and score his second goal of the season.