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Tony Mowbray drops Sunderland fitness update on Ross Stewart as Alex Pritchard inquest looms

Tony Mowbray has admitted Alex Pritchard should not have featured in Thursday night’s win over Wigan Athletic.

The Sunderland boss revealed that he will be investigating how the playmaker passed a fitness test after Pritchard was substituted with an injury in the victory.

The 29-year-old was brought on just after the hour mark but was forced off after just four minutes of action with a suspected calf injury.

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“We’re really disappointed over Pritch,” said Mowbray, via The Northern Echo.

“We’ll have to assess whether it was right that he went onto the pitch, yet he had trained for a good few days and was really confident, ready and chomping at the bit. That’s a real frustration for us, of course.

“It’s a calf injury. He’s done his calf. 

“He’s been training for the last four or five days with the team, and maybe a week before that, and has been fine. 

“He was chomping at the bit to come with us this week and get on the pitch, and yet as soon as he pushed off, he felt it. 

“He’s got a calf injury, so he’s a bit down in there. 

“But he’ll be fine.”

However, Mowbray was pleased with how his team performed.

The decision to exclude Ross Stewart from the starting lineup was also discussed, with the 59-year-old claiming that it was a fitness concern that caused him to drop to the bench.

While Stewart was deemed fit to start, the manager believes it would’ve been a risk given his prior injury lay-off.

“I had one or two conversations with players this week,” he added.

“I think Ross thinks every time he goes on the pitch he’s going to score, and to be honest, that looks like being the case at the minute.

“I try to make decisions for the team, but also for the player, and I don’t think after being out for six months that he can come back and play three games in a week and think it’s going to be okay.

“I made that decision today and Ellis scored and did really well. 

“Then, Ross comes on and scores as well, so that’s great for the football club.”

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