Bardsley injury boost for Sunderland ahead of Blackburn Rovers clash

Phil Bardsley.
Phil Bardsley.

PHIL Bardsley is expected to shake off his injury problems to keep his place at Ewood Park tonight, with Martin O’Neill praising the determination of the Sunderland defender.

Bardsley had been rated as a major doubt to face Blackburn Rovers in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s draw at Everton after aggravating sore ribs during the first half, which had almost seen him miss the game entirely.

But the right-back trained yesterday after his war-wounds showed a marked improvement and is expected to battle through the pain, as he has done over recent weeks despite ankle and calf injuries.

Sunderland boss O’Neill told SportMail: “Phil is a real warrior and he doesn’t like missing games.

“I had Phil at Aston Villa and not playing games through injury is not something he’d do.

“But it was very sore at Everton, he couldn’t get a breath for a while and then you’re worried in case he’d broken a couple of ribs. Even bruised ribs stay around long enough.

“I was pretty concerned about him, particularly someone like Phil who wouldn’t normally complain about it.

“But he did a bit of training yesterday and I think he feels, if anything, a little easier than he did on Saturday morning which is encouraging.

“He’s had the ankle problem this year too and especially when you get a blocked tackle on someone, that causes you a concern.”

Full story in Tuesday’s mail