LEE Cattermole’s long-standing back problem will rule him out for at least another three weeks, meaning he will not be available to play again until March.
The club captain has a complicated condition with a combination of back, hip and hamstring strains, all inter-linked, which have not responded as well as expected to treatment.
He has seen a specialist and more rest has been prescribed, dashing hopes that he would be available for this weekend’s trip to Stoke City.
Sunderland though have more than enough midfielders to cope with his absence, especially since the signings of Stephane Sessegnon and Sulley Muntari at the end of the January transfer window.
STEVE Bruce’s meagre options have been further depleted after youngster Jordan Cook limped out of last night’s reserves encounter.
Rookie forward Cook was an 88th minute substitute in the first-team’s 4-2 defeat to Chelsea on Tuesday after Sunderland were left without six key players, including fellow strikers Danny Welbeck and Fraizer Campbell
It was Cook’s second outing of the season from the bench after making his Black Cats debut at Manchester United on Boxing Day.
But Cook suffered a recurrence of his hamstring problem early in last night’s 5-1 victory over Scunthorpe United which is expected to rule him out of the weekend’s trip to Stoke City.