Robbie Stockdale fears Sunderland will be without Didier Ndong against Millwall this afternoon.
Stockdale looks set to lead the side for the final time with the Championship’s basement club poised to name Chris Coleman as their new manager.
Billy Jones and Lamine Kone will also be missing to leave the caretaker short on defensive options.
But there have been positive developments elsewhere over the course of the international break.
One is the return to fitness of loan signing Tyias Browning, who could come back into contention today at the Stadium of Light (kick-off 3pm).
Stockdale admitted: “Lamine is still missing, that’s obviously been put out there before.
“Billy Jones picked up an injury in the Middlesbrough game, it looks like he’ll be missing for a further three or four weeks on that.
“I don’t think it’s that bad [a break or fracture], but it is certainly bad enough to rule him out for a significant length of time.
“It’s a shame, he’s a senior member of the squad but it gives other people an opportunity to come in.
“Tyias has trained, I’ll have to make a judgement on whether I think he is fit to start but he is certainly in contention.
“There’s a question mark of Didier Ndong – sadly there has been a family bereavement so for compassionate reasons we’ll check on him (this morning).”
Duncan Watmore missed the 1-0 defeat to Middlesbrough, but Stockdale has encouraging news on his fitness.
The forward hasn’t long returned after a year on the sidelines with a cruciate knee injury, but has been given the all-clear after fears of a setback.
Stockdale said: “Duncan was in the team before the Middlesbrough game but felt something just wasn’t quite right with his knee, so he was a little bit worried as we all were.
“He missed the game and thankfully the specialist and the scans showed there was nothing to be too worried about so he’s available.
“He was going to be in the team, so obviously we missed something without him.
“Somebody who plays like him, who can run and before you know it take you from the edge of your box to the edge of theirs, of course, any team would miss a player like that.”