Sunderland AFC injury news: The latest on Niall Huggins and Dan Ballard pre-Middlesbrough
Sunderland face Middlesbrough in the Championship this week – but what is the latest on the injury and suspension front?
Sunderland have equipped themselves well since promotion from League One, winning thrice, drawing twice and losing twice during their opening seven games.
Here, we take you through the situation surrounding injuries in Tony Mowbray’s squad:
Dan Ballard will be on the sidelines for approximately eight weeks after suffering after the 22-year-old sustained a foot fracture during Sunderland’s 2-2 draw with QPR.
"It is difficult to put a timescale on it," former head coach Alex Neil said before his departure.
"We have a few other scans to undertake - and a couple of specialists to see - to fully understand the severity of it, but that process is underway to ensure he then receives the necessary treatment to get him back as soon as we can.”
The full-back hasn’t featured yet this Championship season, Sunderland giving him all the time he needs to make a full and proper recovery.
The 21-year-old made an impressive start to life on Wearside after joining from Leeds United last season, but his campaign was brought to a premature end by two serious injuries.
Huggins suffered a stress fracture of the back before suffering the same injury in both of his heels as he began a comeback.
The defender is making progress in his recovery and travelled to Portugal with the Sunderland squad as he continued his rehabilitation with the club's medical team.
Huggins could return sometime after Christmas but has yet to even feature for the under-23s team yet this season.