Borini backs Kirchhoff to boost Sunderland survival bid

LONDON: Sunderland striker Fabio Borini has welcomed Jan Kirchhoff's return from injury with the Italian believing the midfielder can have a major say in the basement club's battle for Premier League survival.

Kirchhoff, who featured in an under-23 game against Manchester United last week, joined the Black Cats from Bayern Munich in January 2016 and the German played a crucial role in helping the side avoid the drop last season.

"We all hope that (he can have a similar impact as last season) because Jan is a big guy," Borini told the club website.

"That is the kind of player we have missed in midfield because he can do both transitions -- offensive and defensive -- in a very good manner."

With 11 league games to go, Sunderland, who are seven points adrift of safety, host 12th-placed Burnley on Saturday.