Younes Kaboul will miss this weekend’s clash against West Ham after yet another recurrence of his knee problems.
Centre-half Kaboul arrived at Sunderland in a £3million deal during the summer with concerns over his injury history at former club Spurs after failing to appear in the Premier League since November.
But Sunderland moved for the Frenchman despite seeing their £7m proposed move for Belgian international Nicolas Lombaerts collapse after the Zenit St Petersburg defender failed a medical.
Kaboul missed Sunderland’s clashes against Swansea and Exeter in August due to a knee problem and the same injury will keep him out of the pivotal encounter against the Hammers.
“I still think that Kaboul can become a good player for this club,” said Dick Advocaat.
“But if he keeps going on with his knee, then we have a problem.
“We had Lombaerts, but then we discovered he had the problem, so couldn’t go for him. That’s the reason we got Kaboul.
“If Kaboul can overcome his injury problems, then I still think he can come good.”
Kaboul is the only fresh injury concern for Advocaat, with the head coach forced to decide whether to partner John O’Shea with Sebastian Coates in central defence, or hand a first appearance of the season to veteran Wes Brown.
That is likely to be one of two changes at the back, with Advocaat expected to leave out error-prone left-back Patrick van Aanholt.
On-loan Spurs defender DeAndre Yedlin is pencilled in to take van Aanholt’s place, despite being a right-back by trade.