Jermain Defoe and Jack Rodwell are both injury doubts for Sunderland’s trip to Manchester United tomorrow.
Defoe was an unused substitute for Tuesday’s Capital One Cup defeat to Manchester City, while Rodwell came off at half-time against his former club.
But they could both miss out on this weekend’s clash at Old Trafford with Defoe struggling with a hamstring problem and Rodwell trying to shake off an ankle injury.
Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat said today: “Jermain has a little problem with his hamstring, not serious, while Jack Rodwell already had an ankle injury on Tuesday so we are not sure if he is involved yet either.”
With Defoe a doubt, Fabio Borini is likely to remain in the central striker role after the Italian was used in that position for the first time by Advocaat against Man City.
Borini - who played the opening two games of his second Sunderland spell out wide - produced an encouraging performance in the 4-1 defeat, with the Italian unfortunate to see a goal ruled out.
“We bought him as a striker. They told me he is a central striker who can play on the sides,” added Advocaat.
“Now normally you have a pre-season but now we have to find out what is best for the team while the season is going on - 4-3-3 or whatever.
“If you bring in new players you have to start as quickly as possible to find out your options.
“I have seen Fabio play centrally in one game and let’s see what he will do.”