Lee Johnson wants Sunderland to look after Jordan Willis by offering him a new contract. The defender ruptured his patella tendon on Tuesday, won’t play again this season and is out of contract this summer.
"I haven't delved into length of contracts too much, that is something that I will leave to the sporting director [Kristjaan Speakman]. That side of things is Kristjaan's remit, albeit with regular communication from the ownership and the coaching team. But I see Jordan as a big player for us for the future. I rate him really highly. I'm more than happy for him to stay here. I think he is a really good player in whichever league [League One or Championship], it's that simple. We can always have those [contract] discussions, but in the short-term the important thing is that we support him in the proper way, get him the right medical treatment, and give him the best opportunity to come back in top nick."
ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN
"In one sense, this [patella tendon surgery] was probably going to happen at some point because the operation was probably needed. So when he did it [the rupture], I thought he coped with it really well - he was almost resigned to it. The minute he did it, it was almost a case of 'OK, I know this has happened now, and I have a long comeback trail ahead. I think 96 percent of players [who have this surgery] continue playing, and continue really well, so the odds are in his favour with an operation like this, given the modern techniques."
ON SIGNING A FREE AGENT
"I think we have to consider everything. I think Ollie Younger could step up, although he is injured at the moment - nothing serious though, just a knock and he should be back in training next week. We have also got Dion [Sanderson], Flanno [Tom Flanagan] plays that role, Luke O'Nien has played there in a back three although I haven't seen him in a two. The bit that I have to decide is whether to flex the system, which I didn't really have any intention of doing, or do I continue down that path? I think you have to try and put round pegs in round holes as much as possible, albeit at times we haven't been able to do that for various reasons. I do trust Ollie Younger, I think he is a great kid. I haven't seen him enough in games yet to know whether he can handle that situation, but as a personality and in terms of his performances in training, he has been really impressive."