Sunderland rocked as key defender suffers fractured foot

Key Sunderland defender Dan Ballard has suffered a fractured foot, the club has confirmed.

No timescale has yet been put on how long he will be out for. It is a major blow for Sunderland.

Less than nine minutes had been played at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon when Ballard went down after a collision.

After receiving treatment, the defender then left the pitch and was struggling to put weight on his right foot.

Dan Ballard against QPR

Ballard signed for Sunderland from Arsenal in the summer and started the Black Cats' first two Championship matches against Coventry and Bristol City, he is set to be a key player under Neil this season for the Black Cats.

A Sunderland statement read: “Additional scans and consultations are set to take place before Ballard begins a period of rehabilitation, with the injury set to keep the summer signing out of action for the ‘foreseeable future’.”

“Dan has a small fracture in his foot,” said head coach Alex Neil.

“He’s going to be out for the foreseeable future, but it is difficult to put a timescale on it.

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“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.

“It is disappointing for Dan and it is disappointing for us, as he has been a great signing show far, albeit we have only played a few games, and showed real promise and potential.

“It is a setback for Dan, but equally he will come back and hopefully be stronger for it.”