By Kevin Phillips

17th Dec, 2020 | 7:13pm

'Huge' - Exclusive: Kevin Phillips thrilled by big Sunderland development

Lynden Gooch’s return from injury is a “huge boost” for Sunderland manager Lee Johnson ahead of the January transfer window, according to Kevin Phillips.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the Stadium of Light legend claimed the 24-year-old can be “like a new signing” for the Black Cats over the festive period.

Gooch played 45 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Wimbledon on Tuesday night, having missed the previous four League One fixtures with a broken foot.

His 15 appearances across all competitions this season have yielded two goals and six assists.

Lee Johnson will now have nearly two weeks to work with the USA international after the Black Cats next three fixtures were postponed as a result of a Covid outbreak at the club.

When asked by Football Insider for his thoughts on the midfielder’s return to action, Phillips said: “It was a big game for him.

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“It is always good to get players back at this stage of the season because if they perform well it might sway a manager’s thinking just before the transfer window.

“Lee Johnson has got someone coming back who we know is a fantastic player. It is good to get him back and with more game time he will get stronger.

“He can get loads of training under his belt now with the break. Hopefully he will be at 100 per cent by the time they convene on the 29th.

“It will be like having a new signing again. He will be fresh and ready to go which is a huge boost.”

In other news, Sunderland may sell two big names in January, according to Football Insider pundit.