Max Power is facing another lengthy spell on the sidelines after seeing red for the third time this season.
The 25-year-old will be banned for the next five games, though the visit of Notts County in the Checkatrade Trophy means it will effectively be six.
Power saw red in the 23rd minute of the 2-2 draw with Walsall, shown a straight red for a late tackle on Liam Kinsella after losing control of the ball.
It is Power’s third red card in eight League starts this season.
The midfielder had never been sent off in over 200 league appearances before his move to Wearside.
Sunderland will appeal the decision, with Jack Ross absolutely adamant that it was not a red card, but as it stands he will not be available until the visit of Bradford City on Boxing Day, providing the FA Cup clash with Walsall does not go to a replay.
By the time he returns, he will have missed 15 games in all competitions through suspension.
It was the fourth time this season Sunderland have had a player sent off.
They have drawn three of those and won one.