INJURED trio Emanuele Giaccherini, Ricky Alvarez and Sebastian Coates are facing at least a month-long stint on the sidelines.
Midfielders Giaccherini and Alvarez, plus centre-half Coates, all missed Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Stoke City and are unlikely to be fit when Sunderland return to action at Southampton after the two-week international break.
The ankle injury suffered by Giaccherini at Burnley last month is more severe than first thought, with the 29-year-old – left out of the Italy squad announced on Saturday night – suffering severe bruising to the bone.
Alvarez sustained a knee problem in training last week, while Sunderland have been conducting tests over a thigh injury which has been plaguing on-loan Liverpool defender Coates.
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet said: “I cannot give you the medical report because it would be unfair on the doc and also because I might mess it up.
“But it could be longer than a month – four to six weeks or longer.
“Alvarez has a little pinch in the meniscus and Giaccy has the knock that he’s got. The bone bruise is a bit stronger than we first thought.”
Giaccherini and Alvarez would both have been involved in some capacity against Stoke, yet their absences did not hamper Sunderland’s efforts to record a first Premier League victory of the campaign.
And Poyet says Sunderland need to continue with that mindset after the relief stemming from an elusive maiden win.
Poyet added: “I can see the group is stronger. We’ve had a few injuries now for a few weeks.
“And everybody needs to be available. It doesn’t matter who plays – at the end of the day, it’s the club.
“It wasn’t our best day on Saturday, but we performed well and scored three goals – which we normally don’t do.
“It’s nice for everybody to forget about getting that first win.
“It’s a good feeling and I’m very pleased for the players.
“We knew inside the camp that we were a difficult team to play against, but without a win, there are always some doubts, some nerves.
“I think it was very important for the players to win this game.”
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