Sunderland's failure to land a new striker on deadline day has been compounded after Fabio Borini was ruled out for three months.
It leaves manager David Moyes relying on Jermain Defoe, 17-year-old Joel Asoro and Duncan Watmore as his forward options until the January window opens - unless the club can sign a free agent.
Borini tore an adductor ligament in his groin while taking a free-kick in the 1-1 draw with Southampton at St Mary's Stadium on Saturday.
The Italian striker was forced to limp off moments later and Moyes has now confirmed the news that he will be out until December.
It leaves Moyes - who is working hard to bring in an unattached striker to boost his options - woefully short of forwards.
"Borini, we expect to be out for three months, that is a rough guide," Moyes told the Echo.
"There is a chance it could be a bit quicker.
"We are being told it is three months though, an adductor that came off the bone."
There was brighter news on Vito Mannone though, the club's number one goalkeeper who has been ruled out for a similar length of time after rupturing ligaments in his elbow.
With just Jordan Pickford and Under-23 stopper Max Stryjek to pick from, Sunderland had tried desperately to bring in goalkeeping cover on deadline day but their efforts were ultimately in vain.
Pickford has been withdrawn as a precaution from the England Under-21 side with a slight thigh strain. The Echo understands it is not thought to be serious.
Norwich City keeper John Ruddy and Crystal Palace’s Wayne Hennessey were among those targeted on deadline day.
The Championship side rejected a bid, while Palace turned down a loan move for Hennessey.
The club had hoped to secure 25-year-old Mika Domingues from Boavista on a two-year deal.
But the deal was not completed in time, although Sunderland will now enquire about a possible appeal with FIFA.
On Mannone, Moyes added: "The doctor gave us a report and said it was a very good operation it was very clean, it wasn't as if the elbow ligaments were messed up.
"The bone had come out in a bit of dislocation as well, but it was put in quite cleanly. That was the information this morning.
"I have seen Vito and he seemed fine. He is on the mend."