Sunderland boss David Moyes reveals African Cup of Nations fears

Sunderland defender Lamine Kone
Sunderland defender Lamine Kone
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David Moyes is bracing himself to lose two of his key players for the African Cup of Nations - but admits he has heard “nothing” from any of the countries his players represent.

Lamine Kone (Ivory Coast) and Didier Ndong (Gabon) are certain selections for the tournament, which starts on January 14.

If you look at what we’ve got, we’re losing Lamine and Didier, we have no replacements, we’re struggling

DAVID MOYES

So, too, is Tunisia’s Wahbi Khazri, though he has not started for the Black Cats since the 4-1 defeat to Arsenal at the end of October. Papy Djilobodji is a contender for Senegal after a superb run of form for Sunderland.

Moyes is concerned that he has had no contact from any of the federations involved, but half as concerned as to how he will replace Kone and Ndong.

Kone has been outstanding at the back in the club’s turnaround and while Ndong has been a little more hit and miss, his energy is vital in the middle of the park.

“We’ve heard nothing,” said Moyes. “Surely they’d have made contact? But there’s been nothing.

“If you look at what we’ve got, we’re losing Lamine and Didier, we have no replacements, we’re struggling.

“When it comes around to Burnley in the FA Cup, goodness knows what sort of team we’ll have.”

The Sunderland contingent could miss anything up to six Cats fixtures, should their nations get to the final on February 5.

There are two FA Cup weekends, Burnley at home on January 7 with a potential fourth-round date scheduled for the 28th. Sunderland have Premier games against Stoke (h), West Brom (a), Spurs (h) and Crystal Palace (a) during the championship.