Hint that repeat Sheffield Wednesday tormentor could make reappearance for Sunderland

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As nemesis figures go in Sheffield Wednesday’s recent history, Patrick Roberts is surely one.

The former Manchester City winger is now at Sunderland and has proven to be a thorn in the side of the Owls in recent years - acting as a key man in two of the lowest ebbs of Darren Moore’s recent reign as manager.

He levelled-up Sam Hutchinson’s opener at Pride Park on May 8 2021 in a match drawn 3-3 that consigned Wednesday to relegation from the Championship in a season they were stung by a six-point deduction.

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The following season he bagged the stoppage time winner that won Sunderland their play-off semi-final battle with the Owls and kept them in League One for another season.

He was a star performer on both occasions.

Fast forward to the present and Roberts, now 27, is regarded as one of the most talented attacking players in the Championship.

But his involvement in the Black Cats’ last five Championship outings has been limited to appearances from the bench, having sustained a hamstring injury in a win over Rotherham United last month.

Off the bench in their last three, the absence of Roberts from starting line-ups has been a source of confusion for Sunderland fans, with boss Tony Mowbray explaining the reasoning behind the management of minutes after he played the last 28 minutes of their late defeat to Cardiff City on Saturday.

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“I see it as a positive, really,” he said. “I’ve said it in the past - people must think I’m mad, how can I pick a team without Patrick Roberts?

“He’s just an amazing footballer who can really damage teams in this league and be so creative.

“But I’ve had conversations with Pat. He understands. He had a hamstring injury and, in a three-game week [such as last week], there’s no reason for him to worry about how much gametime he gets.”

Mowbray did leave a hint that the time could be right for Roberts to step back into their line-up at Hillsborough on Friday evening.

He said: “Patrick understands the situation and it is not going to be long before he is back starting again and somebody else [is on the bench].”

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