Sunderland AFC news: Lincoln City close to signing emergency loan and four-word message from injured star

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Lee Burge’s social media post as his eyes return

Sunderland goalkeeper Lee Burge has been pictured returning to training after being sidelined.

Burge had a spell away from football, with test results following a positive test for COVID-19 raising some concerns.

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SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND – JANUARY 11: Lincoln manager Michael Appleton looks on during the Sky Bet League One match between Sunderland and Lincoln City at Stadium of Light on January 11, 2022 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The 29-year-old has therefore gone through a mandatory rest period, keeping his heart rate below 100.

Head coach Alex Neil said further testing cleared the goalkeeper to take tentative steps towards a return, although the head coach added he would be cautious in his approach.

Burge’s last appearance for Sunderland came against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals last December.

Responding to Sunderland’s post on Twitter, Burge said: “It’s great to be back.”

Lincoln City are considering an emergency loan deal to resolve their goalkeeping crisis ahead of their side’s clash with Sunderland on Saturday.

Indeed, manager Michael Appleton has admitted there could be movement in the loan market ahead of the Ligue 1 clash at the LNER Stadiun this weekend.

“If it happens before Saturday, so much the better. Otherwise it will definitely happen between Sunderland and Shrewsbury games, hopefully for the season,” Appleton said.

“At the moment it’s one of the two. I think it will be next week.

The Imps have reportedly approached several clubs over the availability of their goalkeepers, with the club considering a strong back-up option.

Appleton again had to field rookie stopper Josh Wright in their 2-0 win at AFC Wimbledon and 2-1 loss to Rotherham United.

This is after West Brom loanee Josh Griffiths – Lincoln’s first choice – injured his ankle in the recent win over Sheffield on Wednesday.

Backup option Sam Long is unable to return from his loan spell at Drogheda United.

According to reports, former Portsmouth loan stopper Jake Eastwood is seen as a viable short-term option.

Why is Lincoln allowed to do this?

Unlike other positions, there are special rules in place which allow clubs to make a signing when they have no senior goalkeepers available.

Sunderland fans may recall that Lincoln was allowed to sign goalkeeper Josef Bursik from Stoke before the first leg of last season’s play-offs.

If all of a club’s professional goalkeepers are unavailable due to inability to play, suspension or international obligation, clubs are permitted to sign an emergency.

A ‘Professional Goalkeeper’ is classified as a player who has been named in the starting XI five or more times for a Premier League or EFL club in any competition – except Papa Trophy John’s.

If a club has no professional goalkeepers available and wishes to sign an emergency loan, they must submit evidence of the unavailability of their other goalkeepers to the EFL.

EFL regulations also state that all emergency loan agreements “will be for a period of seven days and may be renewed for seven days at a time” depending on the situation.

Premier League clubs are not allowed to send goalkeepers on emergency seven-day loan to the EFL.

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