Sunderland AFC injury news: Updates on Ross Stewart and Dennis Cirkin plus Niall Huggins and Dan Ballard latest
Sunderland face Millwall 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 three times during their opening eight games.
The Black Cats were last in action against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Monday night but lost 1-0 to Chris Wilder’s side.
Boro’s Riley McGree scored the only goal of the game in the 25th minute when he converted Ryan Giles’ low cross. Sunderland improved in the second half but struggled with their final ball.
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.
Mowbray has confirmed striker Ross Stewart will be sidelined for at least six weeks.
Stewart picked up a thigh issue during the warm-up ahead of Monday’s 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough, meaning he was taken out of the starting XI.
Speaking to the club’s website, Mowbray said: "Ross will be out for six to eight weeks - it could be a little longer, but that will depend on his rehabilitation and the way his body reacts.
"He's a really positive guy and we hope that he will be a quick healer, so we will take it game by game and hopefully he returns quickly.”
He added: "It is a blow and now we have to find a way to score the goals, but we will be positive and we will not be all doom and gloom about how we are going to win games and score.
“There are players within the squad who are capable of stepping up and our job is to find a way to win, so that's what we will do."
Cirkin was also forced off during the match against Boro with a hamstring problem, yet the defender should be available after the upcoming international break.
"Dennis will be out for one to two weeks and it is as slight an injury as you will see,” said Mowbray. “He should be back in action within a fortnight.”