Victor Anichebe will not be fit for Sunderland’s crunch clash with Stoke City today as David Moyes is left with another depleted squad to pick from.
Billy Jones has a chance of making his injury comeback against Mark Hughes’ Potters, but otherwise Moyes will have to make do with the squad which drew 0-0 with Burnley in the FA Cup third round last week.
Moyes has delivered some positive news on longer-term injuries but admits that his squad has something of an imbalance for the time being.
He said: “Victor is not ready yet, and Steven Pienaar is not ready yet, so neither of them are available for the game. But we are hoping that Billy Jones will be OK, and at least that will be one more added to our group of players.
“We think Jordan [Pickford] might be back quicker than we first expected – he says he feels good and he could be back in three to four weeks. Lynden Gooch is also doing well, and he’s running again.
“There’s a group who won’t be back this season, but there are a couple – Kirch (Jan Kirchhoff) and Catts (Lee Cattermole) – who hopefully will be back before the end of the season.”
“There are some small things that we can do, but we are short of central midfield players at the moment, which is one problem.
“We’ve only got 12 outfielders fit and three of those are right-backs, which is a bit of an imbalance!
“We’re going to have to put out a side against Stoke that we think can compete against them, and has the best chance of winning.”