DAVID Vaughan is set to miss the start of the season after suffering a setback in his recovery from a hernia operation.
Vaughan went under the knife during the summer, but broke down in training during Sunderland’s pre-season trip to South Korea failing to appear in both encounters in the Peace Cup.
The Welsh international is undergoing further treatment on the injury, but is expected to be ruled out for several weeks.
And with the Premier League campaign beginning at Arsenal three weeks tomorrow, the 29-year-old is unlikely to be ready for the curtain-raiser at the Emirates.
Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill said: “David had a hernia operation (during the close season) and didn’t feel too bad.
“He had a few injections to sort everything out, did a bit of training on the day after our first game in Korea and felt great, but then the following day he didn’t feel so good.
“The medical staff are investigating and they think that they should be able to sort it out.
“But it’s a setback because he could be out for a few weeks again and pre-season is really important.”
Vaughan was not the only Sunderland player to suffer an injury in Korea, with goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and defenders Wes Brown and Carlos Cuellar all heading to the treatment room.
Mignolet (groin) and Cuellar (thigh) did not suffer serious knocks, although the duo remain doubtful for tonight’s friendly at North-East neighbours Hartlepool United.
SEE Friday’s Mail for full story