SUNDERLAND are carrying out an urgent investigation into why so many players are being lost to injuries.
Steve Bruce is determined to get to the bottom of the problem which has effectively derailed the club this season.
And the Black Cats’ manager has been involved in a series of discussions aimed at looking at how the situation has arisen and how it might be avoided in the future.
“I’ve been in the game a long, long time and I’ve never known anything like the injury problems we have had this season,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.
“I’ve had meetings with doctors and sports scientists and specialists to try to find answers, because it can’t be a coincidence – we have to ask ourselves if we are doing something fundamentally wrong at the moment to make these injuries happen.
“For four home games in a row to be making substitutions after the first 20 minutes, it’s just crazy.
“So we need to get to the bottom of that and find how we can improve in that direction.
“We’ve had six operations this season alone and we’ve had re-occurences as well. Well have to look at the sports science of things and do everything we can to get it right.
“I’ve been in the game a long time and this number of injuries is not something you usually see. We need to see what we can do to tackle the problem.”
Bruce revealed he had only 13 fit first-teamers on the training ground last midweek, with eight players on the injury list and he says there’s no doubt that that has been a factor in the club falling away in recent months.
“You can’t play the best teams in this league team and expect to get away with fielding only a half-strength side and too often this year that’s exactly what we’ve been doing,” said Bruce.
“It’s a crying shame because you can see how useful the likes of Lee Cattermole and Michael Turner are to us as they’re getting fitter. And they’re just two of half-a-dozen first teamers that have missed too much of the season because of injuries.
“Every side gets knocks, of course, but not as many as we’ve had and there’s no doubts in my mind that if we’d kept some of these lads out of the treatment room we’ve be a lot higher up the table.”