Sunderland’s worst fears have been confirmed with Darron Gibson set to be out for between eight and 12 weeks after undergoing groin surgery.
Gibson has proved a key player in the holding midfield role under Chris Coleman but will now miss at least two months.
Coleman said: "He’s had surgery so Darron will be out for eight to 12 weeks. It’s a blow because the way we were going it was going well for Darron.”
Aiden McGeady (calf) and Paddy McNair (groin) will miss the trip to Cardiff City. Lee Cattermole has trained this week but is not ready to start.
Coleman added: "Lamine Kone has trained and has trained well. He is way off starting, he has been out for eight or ten weeks.
"Adam Matthews has come back, Lee Cattermole has trained well but he has been out for just over three weeks so we couldn’t start with him.
"Aiden McGeady hasn’t trained all week and is unavailable. Paddy McNair is not available this weekend.
"End of next week or start of the week after Jonny Williams will be in with the group. It is earlier than expected. He has worked really hard and we could do with him."