Fleetwood flyer Wes Burns fighting fit and face Sunderland and former boss at Stadium of Light

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Former Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton appointed Bristol Rovers manager

The Black Cats occupy the final League One play-off spot, with Fleetwood 11 points and 10 placed behind.

Burns made his comeback after a calf injury as a second-half substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Charlton Athletic, having last started in the Papa John’s Trophy defeat at Hull City six weeks ago.

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Wes Burns last started a game for Fleetwood at Hull six weeks ago

The 26-year-old had scored in back-to-back games and felt he was finding form before his enforced spell on the sidelines.

Burns said: “It’s always good to be back on the pitch after a medium-length injury.

“It was annoying picking the injury up when I did, hitting a little bit of form.

“I scored against Crewe (on Boxing Day), then we had a break because of Covid and then I got a goal and an assist at Hull in the cup.

“I felt like I was getting back into a rhythm and then I picked up the injury. It’s brilliant being back in with the squad.”

There has been change at Sunderland since the sides last met.

Phil Parkinson was staring down the barrel when they drew 1-1 at Highbury in November and was sacked days later.

Burns knows Parkinson’s Stadium of Light successor Lee Johnson from their time at Bristol City and expects the Wearsiders to be a very different proposition this time.

He said: “They’ve had a change of manager. When they came to us it was in their mind they were probably in a bit of a bad run.

“They played a long-ball style of football up to Danny Graham and Charlie Wyke.

“Lee Johnson was my manager for a short spell. I know he’s football- oriented and wants to play a nice style.

“So I’m guessing they’re going to play a completely different way than at our place. It will be quite exciting tonight.

“Every year Sunderland are in League One, they’re the team everyone says should go and win the league outright. With the budget they’ve got, the team they’ve got, the squad, they should be winning the league comfortably.

“Obviously they never do because League One is a mad league. They’ve got one of the best squads in the league, so it’s a nice test for us to take our squad over to them and see what we’ve got.”

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