STEVEN FLETCHER will be assessed by Sunderland’s medical staff after potentially dealing a heavy blow to the Black Cats’ survival fight.
Sunderland’s top scorer lasted just two minutes of Scotland’s 2-1 defeat to Wales at Hampden Park last night before landing awkwardly on his ankle following an aerial challenge with Swansea left-back Ben Davies.
Fletcher immediately limped off and has already been ruled out of Scotland’s World Cup qualifier against Serbia on Tuesday.
But it is the long-term implications of Fletcher’s injury which will be worrying boss Martin O’Neill.
The £12million man will now return to Wearside where he will undergo tests and receive treatment.
But new Scotland boss Gordon Strachan did offer a ray of hope last night though, by indicating Fletcher’s injury was not as bad as first feared.
Stachan said: “His ankle buckled. Fletcher was a bit shocked, but he is more relaxed now. He is getting assessed and he will get assessed by his club.”
Fletcher has missed just one Premier League game for Sunderland since his arrival from Wolves and if the 25-year-old does face a spell on the sidelines, it will put the burden on goalless January arrival Danny Graham.
Meanwhile, Sunderland duo John O’Shea and James McClean helped the Republic of Ireland secured the bragging rights over Black Cats team-mate Seb Larsson last night.
Ireland held Sweden to a goalless draw in Stockholm, to remain just a point behind their hosts in Qualification Group C.
Both McClean and Larsson were replaced within the final 10 minutes, with O’Shea lasting until the final whistle.
The only other Sunderland player involved in last night’s World Cup qualifiers was goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, although the 24-year-old was left on the bench in Belgium’s 2-0 win in Macedonia.