PROMISING Sunderland youngster Louis Laing is facing another spell on the sidelines after suffering an ankle injury.
Laing sustained the problem during the Under-21s’ pre-season tour of Germany and Holland last week, with the initial diagnosis not thought to have been encouraging.
It is another injury set-back for the 20-year-old after spending seven months on the sidelines last season with foot and knee problems.
Laing has long been recognised as one of the best prospects from the club’s academy and impressed for the first-team under Steve Bruce during the 2011 pre-season.
But since then, the centre-half has struggled to fulfil his potential, although he did get a taste of the Football League when making 11 appearances for then League One side Wycombe during the tail end of the 2011-12 campaign.
Laing was taken to South Korea by Martin O’Neill last summer for the club’s pre-season tour, but never got a sniff of the first-team under the former Black Cats boss.
And after seeing last season derailed by the injury, Laing had hoped to go back out on loan this season, with several League One sides interested in the defender.
Meanwhile, Sunderland’s U21s will complete their pre-season schedule at Harrogate Town tonight (kick-off 7.30pm).
Kevin Ball’s side begin their league campaign against Bolton Wanderers in a behind-closed-doors game at the Academy of Light next Wednesday.