DAVID Vaughan has picked up a groin injury and is a doubt for Sunderland’s second Peace Cup game on Sunday.
The Welsh international was on the substitutes’ bench for the Black Cats’ 1-0 defeat to Seongnam at the Suwon World Cup Stadium yesterday.
But manager Martin O’Neill never had any intention of involving the 29-year-old midfielder.
He said: “David has a bit of a groin injury, so I decided not to risk him.
“We don’t want to take unnecessary gambles so the sensible thing was for him to miss out on the Seongnam game.
“We’ll see how he is for Sunday.”
The Welshman’s knock was not a problem in terms of team selection.
Sunderland are well-catered for in midfield on this trip, with O’Neill able to field three central midfielders against the Koreans – David Meyler, Lee Cattermole and Craig Gardner all playing – while a fourth, Jack Colback, was deployed at left-back.
Vaughan’s injury, however, is another setback which has weakened a squad already half-a-dozen players down (with the manager resting international players), before losing Phil Bardsley and Matt Kilgallon to injuries on the eve of the trip.
“I’m very disappointed that Matt and Phil couldn’t make it,” said O’Neill, who will make an hour-long journey to be at the Groningen v Hamburg game today.
“I would have loved to have relied on them over here, but Phil went over on his ankle very badly indeed and Matt also aggravated an injury to rule him out and we just have to get on with it.
“The players who played had a good work-out in the game even though we were all disappointed by the defeat.
“I don’t like losing any game, but the aim of pre-season is to get the players fitter and sharper all the time and they’ll certainly have benefited from a competitive match in testing conditions like the Seongnam game was.
“It’s all about improving fitness while trying to keep the knocks and strains to a minimum.”