Gary Rowell: Sunderland need to look at injuries

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I’M not a medical man so I can’t tell you what’s behind Sunderland’s current horrendous spate of injuries.

I don’t know if it is just down to pure bad luck or whether there’s a deeper problem.

But what I do know is that Sunderland need to look at the situation urgently and look into it thoroughly because there’s no doubt that it has crippled Sunderland’s season – no pun intended.

You simply can’t go into Premier League games with no strikers and expect to prosper.

And similarly, if you’re missing your best central defenders or best central midfielders, you shouldn’t be surprised if it adversely affects your performances.

The other week Sunderland played really well to beat Bolton but once again there was an injury afterwards – this time to Anton Ferdinand, who had just had one of his best games of the season at the Reebok.

And his absence didn’t just mean one change for the Wolves game, it meant a whole series of switches because of the shortage of bodies.

So Nedum Onuoha moves inside to cover for Anton, Ahmed Elmohamady has to drop from right-wing to right-back, Jordan Henderson has to move out of the middle and on to the right-wing.

There have been too many changes in the side this season and when you’re always chopping and changing it can be hard to find consistency.

The main reason for the changes has of course been the injuries.

They are are also the main reason for the slump in form with the whole spine of the side currently sidelined.

First-choice keeper Craig Gordon is out, as are first-choice centre-halves Titus Bramble and Michael Turner. We’re also missing skipper Lee Cattermole in the middle and Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck up front.

It’s a problem which brings its own consequences.

Any team would struggle without their best players and Sunderland are no different from anyone else. It has undoubtedly undermined their hopes of progress in the second half of the season.

So that injury situation needs to be addressed, if for no other reason than that it has costed Sunderland so dearly.

And if there are changes that have to be made, then the club has to go ahead and make them. It is too important an issue not to get it right.

READ the full column in Tuesday’s Echo