SUNDERLAND are still hopeful that Steven Fletcher will make a further contribution before the end of the season.
The Scotland striker has missed Sunderland’s last two games after damaging ankle ligaments against Crystal Palace a fortnight ago and he will definitely be sidelined for Monday’s crunch Stadium of Light clash against West Ham.
There remains no definitive timescale over the latest lay-off for Fletcher, who has been plagued by injuries throughout the campaign after suffering ankle, shoulder and Achilles problems.
But the 26-year-old continues to undergo treatment at the Academy of Light and first-team coach Charlie Oatway today insisted that Sunderland have not given up hope of Fletcher playing a part in the run-in.
Oatway told the Echo: “The bruising has gone down to a certain degree.
“It’s just a waiting game.
“He’s constantly being treated and we’re hoping we can get a few games out of him before the end of the season.
“To have a player back like Fletcher will be a bonus for us.”
Fletcher’s injuries have taken their toll on his form this season, with the £12million frontman netting just times.
But with fellow strikers Jozy Altidore and Nacho Scocco both struggling for goals, and Connor Wickham only just recalled from his loan spell at Leeds United, Gus Poyet is keen to have all available options for Sunderland’s bid to remain in the Premier League.