Sunderland suffer Daniel Ballard injury blow as ex-Arsenal defender limps off against QPR

Sunderland have suffered an injury blow after defender Daniel Ballard was forced off in the first half of the Black Cats’ Championship match against QPR.

Less than nine minutes had been played at the Stadium of Light when Ballard went down after a collision with a Rangers player.

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

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Ballard signed for Sunderland from Arsenal in the summer and started the Black Cats first two Championship matches against Coventry and Bristol City.

Dan Ballard

Luke O’Nien replaced the centre-back in the QPR match which finished 2-2.

Sunderland boss Alex Neil said after the match: "It's a massive blow,"

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"Dan is a key player, we've spent money on him to improve the squad. We've lost him, and it just shows where we are. We're light.

"We've lost a signing we've brought in, if you look at the squad today we've only had two starters from who we signed in the summer, and now we've lost one of them.

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"It doesn't look good for Dan. He's gone away to hospital and we'll see how he is from there."