Sunderland finally make loan call on fantastic 19-year-old

Zak Johnson’s loan at Hartlepool United will be extended until the new year, according to sources, after the teenage defender suffered only a minor injury.

Johnson was injured in his sixth appearance for the National League club, which corresponded with the end of his initial month-long loan with the club.

Hartlepool United manager John Askey is said to be keen to keep the 19-year-old in his squad, and with his first-team coach saying that there does not appear to be a serious problem, that now appears to be a strong possibility.

“Zak’s is a minor issue as I’m led to believe, I’m not a qualified physio,” Sweeney stated in a statement.

“He felt something in his groin, but I don’t think it’s serious enough to keep him out for a long time; it could be days more than anything else.”

“But we’ll see how it settles down and make a decision on when he’s involved in the squad, but I think it’s a short-term [injury] more than a long term.”
Sunderland head coach Tony Mowbray has not been personally engaged in the decision-making process, but he stated last week that he firmly supports the move to give the defender more senior football experience.

Johnson, an England youth international, was a fixture in Sunderland’s pre-season training, and Mowbray believes he has a genuine chance of breaking into the first-team in the future.


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Mowbray traveled to Hartlepool last month to see Johnson in person.

“He needs to play senior football, I think it’s good for really young players.” Mowbray explained.

“Zak is a really gifted young man, but it’s a completely different experience playing senior football when the outcome is everything. It’s not easy at that level, and several of our guys, like Pierre Ekwah, came to us having never played senior football before.There is an acclimatization period, and any game time for Zak can only be a good thing. I believe he has a genuine potential of being a Sunderland player in the future.”

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