Chris Coleman has vowed to do anything he can to help Duncan Watmore recover from a second cruciate ligament injury.
Watmore will not play again this season and Coleman admitted the loss of such a popular and talented forward had hit the club hard.
The former Wales boss is no stranger to long-term injuries himself.
Coleman had persistent Achilles problems that sidelined him at Blackburn Rovers, before breaking a leg in a horrific car crash during his time at Fulham. His playing career never truly recovered from the latter and he hopes he will be able to offer support to the 23-year-old in the coming months.
Watmore successfully underwent surgery on Thursday after suffering the recurrence against Millwall last weekend, and now begins the long road back to fitness.
Coleman said: "It is really the mental side with a long-term injury, but I’ve had a few myself, so I think I’m in a position where I can guide him, offer him some advice.
"He’s got a good medical team around him and the full support of the club. A lot of it [difficulty] is when you’re away from the club, when you’re at home. The weekend is coming towards you and you’re not part of it, if you’re a real football person, which he is, it will hurt him. You’ve got to get your head round that and be realistic, face up to it, say 'look, I’m not going to play this season but I’ve got a lot of years left in me so when I get back I’m going to make sure I’m ready'.
"Duncan is a very sensible and intelligent boy so he’ll definitely do that, but between now and then he’ll have times when he’s down. I remember at Blackburn when I was out for a long time, they’d say, ‘look, you’ve been at it for two or three months, go and have a couple of weeks away.'
"When you come back you get a burst of energy, you really want to go at it, and that can speed up your recovery. It’ll be tough initially so we all need to support him."
Coleman admits he is no closer to playing his preferred side and formation ahead of a crucial away clash at Burton Albion.
Didier Ndong has been ruled out for three weeks with a knee injury while centre-back Marc Wilson is still unavailable.
Coleman should at least be able to call upon Lee Cattermole and Paddy McNair. Cattermole was suspended for the Millwall draw, with McNair sitting out after playing 90 minutes as he returns from a cruciate injury.
The Sunderland boss says he still believes he has enough options with those available in his squad to lift the club out of its current predicament.
He said: "I'm still no closer to what I had in mind because we're still missing one or two.
"I would have like to have played a certain way but injuries won't allow that at the moment.
"But I'm not uncomfortable with what we've got. I'm not negative about what we've got.
"I'm positive and I expect from them.
"Whatever formation we go with on Saturday - it will be different to the one I had in my head going into the Aston Villa game before Sunday - I'm confident it will be good enough."