Vito Mannone on standby as Sunderland assess Jordan Pickford knee injury

Jordan Pickford
Jordan Pickford
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Vito Mannone is on standby for Sunderland's New Year's Eve clash at Burnley while the club assess a knee injury picked up by Jordan Pickford.

The 22-year-old is a serious doubt for Saturday's trip to Burnley after sustaining an injury in the Boxing Day defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Pickford is being assessed by club medics but it is unclear at this stage what the extent of the injury is.

An extended spell on the sidelines would be a major blow for Pickford and Sunderland, with the Washington-born stopper excelling since taking over from Mannone at the end of August.

England Under-21 international Pickford, who was called into the main squad in November after a string of impressive performances, got his chance after Mannone injured his elbow in training.

He hasn't looked back since but Mannone could be set for a return to the Sunderland side should the knee injury keep Pickford out.

Pickford's performances have earned him widespread recognition, with Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal among the clubs keeping tabs on the in-demand goalkeeper.

Mannone - linked with January moves to Aston Villa and Palermo - started the season as Sunderland's No 1 after an impressive pre-season.

The 28-year-old was in goal for the 2-1 Premier League defeats to Manchester City and Middlesbrough before going under the surgeon’s knife after rupturing elbow ligaments in training.

Since returning to full fitness, 6ft 2in Mannone has had to make do with a place on the bench in recent months given Pickford's superb form.

Sunderland manager David Moyes could do without any further injuries given Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair are out for the season and Jan Kirchhoff, Lee Cattermole and Lynden Gooch are out for several months.