SUNDERLAND face a wait until later this week to learn whether Jermain Defoe is fit to participate in this Saturday’s crunch clash against West Brom.
Defoe missed last weekend’s FA Cup humiliation at League One Bradford after succumbing to the calf problem which has been affecting him since joining Sunderland last month.
The 32-year-old had previously started every game for the Black Cats, but wasn’t even on the bench at Valley Parade after missing training on Saturday.
Defoe is expected to be absent again today when Sunderland’s first-team squad return to full training, with head coach Gus Poyet not certain yet whether the England international will feature in Saturday’s visit of revitalised West Brom.
It won’t be until later in the week that Sunderland are able to assess whether the problen has improved and if Defoe is in contention against the Baggies, who lie one place and two points above the Wearsiders in the Premier League table.
“Jermain had a problem with his calf and didn’t train properly on Saturday,” said Poyet. “He’s going to be off for three or four days.
“If people think we were going to take him to Bradford to play injured, then they’re wrong.
“I’m not sure yet if he’ll be okay for next week.”
Poyet had received flak for leaving Defoe out against Bradford, while making six changes to his starting XI. But with injuries biting, Poyet had few other options, with academy product George Honeyman introduced in the dying stages for his first-team debut.
Midfielder Jack Rodwell had not sufficiently recovered from the groin problem which has kept him out for almost a fortnight, despite hopes that he would be fit.
Emanuele Giaccherini was missing through illness, Will Buckley is sidelined with a knee problem and Anthony Reveillere was ruled out with a hamstring strain – forcing the return of Billy Jones, who notably struggled at right-back.
“All the players who were available were involved,” added Poyet.
However, Lee Cattermole is due to return to training today and could feature against West Brom.