Norwich City vs Sunderland LIVE
Dennis Cirkin's battle with the lingering effects of his concussion are a worry admits Tony Mowbray - and he insists Sunderland will not try to rush the defender back into action. Cirkin suffered concussion after being knocked unconscious as the left-back headed Sunderland's equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Millwall on February 4.
Sunderland followed the FA's concussion protocols which lay out the procedures that must be followed before a player can return to action, and ten days after he was concussed he was cleared to make his comeback in the Black Cats' 3-0 win at QPR, making a brief appearance as a substitute at Loftus Road. He made another substitute appearance a few days later against Bristol City, and then started the defeat at Rotherham United on February 21 but was substituted after an hour.
The 20-year-old has not been involved since, with Mowbray explaining that Cirkin has been experiencing dizzy spells which have necessitated further scans, although they have come back clear. Cirkin is still getting dizzy spells and that has meant he cannot be involved in full training, although he is able to take part in individual sessions.
But the fact that, five weeks after suffering the injury, he is still not fully recovered is a concern. "I'm not a medical person - I ask my medical department the same questions you're asking me," said Mowbray.
"It's over a month since the Millwall game, but Dennis saying he is still getting dizzy spells. He's had a scan and it looks pretty clear but if he's telling us he has dizzy spells then he has dizzy spells, and the medical department at the moment don't want him to have contact training.
"He is training on his own, running and shooting balls, but not contact training. That's where Dennis is, and it means he is unavailable for selection at this moment.
"I don't feel I, as head coach, can go 'Dennis, you're not actually injured you've just got a bit of dizziness, you can play'. I wouldn't do that. There's a protocol in place and if it's concussion, he won't be playing.
"Until he joins back in full training and wins some headers and tackles and gets knocked over on his backside, he won't be involved. He needs to do that first, and I'm being governed by the medical department."