Midfielder Jack Rodwell has joined Sunderland’s growing absentee list to leave the most depleted squad in the Premier League stretched even further.
The 25-year-old suffered a medial ligament injury in his knee during the loss to Stoke at the weekend, when he made his 35th top-flight start for the Black Cats – none of which have resulted in a victory for his team.
While boss David Moyes is hopeful Rodwell will not be missing for the long term, he could be without as many as 12 senior professionals for the visit to West Brom in the Premier League this weekend – a list longer than any other top-flight club can point to.
Lamine Kone, Wahbi Khazri and Didier Ndong are at the African Nations Cup while Jordan Pickford, Jan Kirchhoff, Victor Anichebe, Steven Pienaar, Duncan Watmore, Paddy McNair, Lynden Gooch and Lee Cattermole are all injured.
“Jack had a medial ligament injury,” Moyes explained.
“He was scanned on Monday after getting it in the game on Saturday, and the scan has not come up with anything. I’m hoping that it shouldn’t keep Jack out too long.
“He’s just beginning to get a couple of games under his belt. To have Jack out (against Burnley) was a blow.
“They thought that he’d opened his medial ligament so the scan has not shown a great deal. We’re hopeful that he might just have to stay off it for a week or so and let’s see how he is.”
Moyes’ bench at Burnley, where Sunderland lost 2-0 in an FA Cup third-round replay, included Jermain Defoe and John O’Shea alongside three players never to have played for the senior team, another who has made just one start and a teenager.
The bare bones could be exposed again at The Hawthorns in three days’ time, unless Anichebe and Pienaar can make quick recoveries from their respective hamstring and calf problems.
“Victor’s doing some running, there’s a chance he can join back in training this week,” Moyes said.
“But he’s not joined the team in training to this point. Steven is the same, doing a little bit of running as well, and hopefully he’ll have a chance to join in training before the end of the week.”