SUNDERLAND will look to strengthen central midfield in the January transfer window in the wake of Lee Cattermole’s knee injury.
The skipper is currently being assessed after suffering suspected medial knee ligament damage in Tuesday’s game against Queens Park Rangers.
And the fear is he could be out until the end of January at the earliest – a spell which would see him effectively miss the middle third of the season.
Martin O’Neill was reluctant to be drawn on a diagnosis with the midfielder still undergoing tests.
But he confirmed: “While we don’t know for certain, it does look as though he’s going to be out for some considerable period of time.
“We don’t know exactly what his situation is because he’s still having scans but our own doctors are concerned.
“It was a different knee to the one he’d hurt previously and it was very sore.
“So yes, he will be out for some time.”
In the short term, Sunderland could recall David Meyler from his loan spell at Hull City after this weekend but looking further ahead, there is the January transfer window which offers Sunderland the chance for squad strengthening which it would appear they need.
“O’Neill onfirmed: “David Meyler’s situation is something I’m looking at.
“He’s had game time which I think he’s enjoying and he’s getting fitness.
“But it’s definitely something I will have to look at and review.
“As for January – we’ve got a really big month ahead with lot of games on our plate the same as every other side and that’s still our main focus.
“It is tough with so much going on.
“But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking at the January market as everyone does.
“And it is something that is in our minds.”