Sunderland AFC manager, David Moyes has stated that the Black Cats' midfield "needs" Jack Rodwell.
Taking responsibility in the middle
The 25-year-old midfielder is one of the unfortunate men that have been struck by the injury curse at the Stadium of Light, been absent since the 4-1 defeat to Arsenal.
Moyes' midfield options are scarce currently with Didier NDong away at the African Cup of Nations, and Moyes stated that the side will need Rodwell in the next few weeks.
“I thought Jack played as well as anybody,” Moyes told the Sunderland Echo. “He was still running out of a bit of steam with 20 minutes to go."
"But hopefully we’ll be able to build his fitness levels back up over the coming weeks," the coach stated. "There were some good moments we need him."
"We’re needing someone to take a bit of responsibility in the middle of the pitch," Moyes added. "Jack’s just beginning to do a bit of that.”
Saturday's draw proved a frustrating one for those inside the Stadium of Light, with neither chance having any real opportunity of recognition.
The sides will meet again at Turf moor after Saturday's clash with Stoke City, and Rodwell stated that the side need to stay positive ahead of the replay.
Rodwell told safc.com, "Personally I got 90 minutes under my belt which built on the Liverpool game where I got 60-65 minutes. It’s good for me fitness-wise and like you said we got a clean sheet."
He concluded, "But we just didn’t have that spark around the box, the lads feel a little bit like it’s a defeat. It’s not, though, so we have to stay positive and win the replay.”
Sunderland AFC will host Stoke City at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, January 14 with kick-off at 3pm GMT.