Sunderland hero Jermain Defoe faces anxious wait on ankle injury

Jermain Defoe scores his side's goal
Jermain Defoe scores his side's goal
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Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe is hoping he hasn’t damaged his ankle ligaments after limping off in Sunderland’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Defoe grabbed the only goal of the game, pouncing on a mix-up between home defender Scott Dann and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy.

However, he didn’t finish the game after a heavy challenge and faces an anxious wait to see if he will be fit to face Stoke at the weekend.

“The only positive is that I can put weight on it,” said Defoe. “I just hope it’s not ligaments.

“I felt sharp and I’ve worked hard.”

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce sprung a tactical surprise by playing a 3-5-2 formation at Selhurst Park, having seen the Black Cats slump to a 6-2 defeat at Everton the last time he played that system.

However, Defoe said the hard work the team put in over the last fortnight ensured the players knew what they doing.

“The team spirit is always important,” he said. “The lads worked hard, especially in the international break. We put the work in, to be honest, and it’s paid off.

“We knew it was going to be a difficult game. The first half was high tempo but we dug in, the lads battled fantastically and we’re delighted with the three points.

“It’s a great win and hopefully we can kick on now. It’s never easy when you’re scrapping for results but the manager has come in and done fantastic, he’s got the lads working hard.”

Defoe was one of the players who never stopped working, and it was his refusal to give up what seemed like a lost cause that forced Dann into his mistake for the only goal of the game.

“I kept making runs in behind and I felt sharp throughout the game,” added the former England star.

“People always say when you work hard, you get rewarded and I think that happened, that little bit of luck that you need, and I’m just delighted when I went through and put it away.”