SUNDERLAND are assessing the foot injury suffered by Steven Fletcher against Arsenal, with the Black Cats concerned about adding to their casualty list.
Fletcher limped off five minutes into the second half of Saturday’s 2-0 defeat after receiving a stamp on the top of his foot.
The Scotland international has undergone x-rays and Sunderland are still determining the severity of the problem.
But Black Cats boss Gus Poyet is desperate for Fletcher to avoid a lay-off, particularly as the frontman has begun to regain some match sharpness after ending his 2014 goal drought with a brace against Stoke City earlier this month.
Sunderland’s injury problems have begun to bite over the last two games, albeit Poyet has strengthened his options with the capture of Bosman signing Anthony Reveillere.
Midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini is likely to be sidelined for at least another three weeks, with the Italian still confined to a protective boot for an ankle injury.
Full-back Billy Jones faces a similar length spell on the treatment table with a hamstring strain while Sebastian Coates could be a long-term absentee with a troublesome thigh injury.
And while Argentine international Ricky Alvarez is the closest to returning to the fold, the on-loan Inter Milan midfielder still faces a spell out.
Meanwhile, Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole is walking a disciplinary tightrope after collecting his fourth yellow card of the season against the Gunners.
If Cattermole receives a fifth booking before the cut-off date on December 31, then the Teessider will face a one-match suspension.