SIDELINED Emanuele Giaccherini will see a specialist this week, with Sunderland fearing the worst over the Italian international.
Giaccherini has endured an injury-hit second season at the Stadium of Light after being limited to just four first-team starts, due to groin and ankle problems.
The 29-year-old spent two months on the sidelines in the Autumn with an ankle injury and aggravated it again when he was the victim of a rash challenge in the closing stages of Sunderland’s FA Cup fourth round replay win at Fulham earlier this month.
Giaccherini, again missing for Saturday’s stalemate against West Brom, continues to be troubled by the injury and will seek expert opinion this week in the hope that he can play a part in Sunderland’s survival bid.
But Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet admitted: “It doesn’t look good.
“We are reassessing, but we will get a full update (this) week.
“It is the same injury he had before. I don’t want to go further, but it’s not good.
“I hope the specialist opinion in the week is positive.”
Fellow midfielder Jack Rodwell has also been sidelined for much of the last month, with Poyet confirming that the £10million summer signing was again missing on Saturday with a calf problem.
However, Lee Cattermole returned from almost two months on the treatment table against the Baggies and came through the 90 minutes unscathed.
Sunderland immediately looked more resilient with Cattermole back in the side after two damaging defeats to QPR and Bradford, and Poyet admits that having the Teessider back in the fold is a big boost.
Poyet added: “Lee is also a big help in the dressing room. He is contagious.
“Someone who runs as much as he does, and plays the game with such a high intensity, others follow. I think that brings a lot.
“When he comes back he makes a difference.”