Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher to miss Stoke trip with ankle injury

Sunderland's Steven Fletcher tries an over head kick with Crystal Palace's Pape Souare during the Barclays Premier League match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland.
Sunderland's Steven Fletcher tries an over head kick with Crystal Palace's Pape Souare during the Barclays Premier League match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland.

STEVEN FLETCHER has been ruled out of Sunderland’s trip to Stoke City this weekend with an ankle injury.

Fletcher is sidelined with a problem to the same ankle that required surgery at the tail end of last season and will miss the trip to the Britannia Stadium.

With fellow attack-minded players Ricky Alvarez and Emanuele Giaccherini still out, Fletcher’s absence could prompt an opportunity for Adam Johnson after head coach Dick Advocaat confirmed the winger was available for selection, despite being charged with three counts of sexual activity with a child under 16 and one of grooming.

The only other options available to Advocaat would be fit-again Will Buckley, or to hand a Premier League debut to young prospect Duncan Watmore.