Kevin Phillips feels sorry for Sunderland loanee Jordan Jones after he was ruled out for the remainder of March with a muscle injury.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the Stadium of Light legend claimed the 26-year-old’s absence is “a big blow” to Lee Johnson’s side as the race for promotion hots up.

The winger, who has contributed two goals and three assists since arriving on loan from Rangers, has been sidelined since the 2-0 win at Portsmouth on 9 March.

As reported by the Sunderland Echo, Jones has also been ruled out of Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifiers on 25 March and 31 March.

He will therefore be unavailable for Sunderland’s trip to Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

When asked by Football Insider for his assessment Jones’ injury, Phillips said:

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“It is a shame he picked up the injury because he was just hitting form. He scored a wonder goal away at Crewe and another important one down at Portsmouth.

“It is no ideal for Lee ahead of the run in but it does not sound as if it is too serious. Hopefully he will be back in a game or two.

“It is always tough as a player when you get injured when you are in form. It took Jones a while to settle so hopefully when he returns he is back to his best.

“It is a big blow but Lee has shown that he has depth in his squad. He has rotated it a bit and the players have all performed when called upon. It is amazing, when you come into a side that is full of confidence you can just slot in.

“It is not ideal though, they could have done with Jones at the weekend.”

The Black Cats drew 1-1 with Lincoln City on Saturday.

They sit third in the table, two points off of the automatic promotion spots.

In other news, Phillips tips Stewart to explode for Sunderland after an ‘amazing’ development.