Lee Cattermole a huge miss for Sunderland and he is not back yet

KEY COMPONENT ... Lee Cattermole.

KEY COMPONENT ... Lee Cattermole.

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LEE CATTERMOLE is just the type of player Sunderland need to guide them through a sticky patch, admits Gus Poyet.

Cattermole is the only injury absentee for Sunderland ahead of today’s crunch clash against Burnley, albeit fellow midfielder Jack Rodwell is missing through a one-game suspension.

The 26-year-old is yet to feature for Sunderland during 2015, due to niggling groin and knee problems - the latter of which was still affecting the Teessider during an aborted return to training earlier this week.

Cattermole underwent scans on the knee injury yesterday and Sunderland will be guided by the specialist over any potential lay-off for the ex-Middlesbrough man.

But with Sunderland low on confidence after a return of just one point from the last five Premier League encounters, Poyet accepts that the Black Cats could do with Cattermole’s leadership qualities.

Poyet told SportMail: “He’s been able to do a little bit of training this week – in and out, but then a little setback.

“We’ll leave the final decision with the specialist as to how to go ahead.

“I think at certain moments of the last few weeks, we’ve missed him. We’ve been asking for characters, asking for something that is going to bring the fans up.

“Who better than Lee? But it’s only a little excuse.

“We need to deal with everything.

“I’m not too worried, apart from getting him recovered as soon as possible.”

Adam Johnson and Wes Brown are both back in the squad today after missing last week’s FA Cup fourth round tie against Fulham with minor knocks, while full-back Anthony Reveillere is also fit-again following an Achilles problem which has kept him sidelined for the last month.

Poyet hopes a Sunderland victory against Burnley can spark a winning run for the Black Cats.

“It’s a very important game,” said the Uruguayan.

“It has to be a turning point.

“We need to put everything we have been trying into a winning performance and go from there.

“I think the group is ready.”

For a Sunderland side who have recorded just one Premier League victory at the Stadium of Light all season, this is a make-or-break period with successive home games against Burnley, QPR and West Brom on the horizon.