David Moyes has spoken of his frustration after Sunderland’s mounting injury problems continue to stack up.
The Black Cats boss has stressed the players are not being overworked in training, with the majority of injuries being picked up in matches.
Lamine Kone is the latest doubt after picking up a hamstring strain on international duty with Ivory Coast.
Kone was due to be assessed ahead of today’s crunch bottom-of-the-table clash with Stoke City.
It is the latest in a long line of injuries, with Vito Mannone (elbow), Seb Larsson (knee), Jan Kirchhoff (hamstring), Fabio Borini (thigh), Lee Cattermole (back) and Adnan Januzaj (ankle) all out injured.
Manchester City loanee Jason Denayer is also out of the trip to Stoke but Victor Anichebe and Steven Pienaar are set to return.
The 21-year-old picked up the adductor muscle problem playing for Belgium’s Under-21 side in Montenegro, coming off after just 33 minutes of the Under-21 European Championship qualifier.
Moyes has revealed his injury is not as bad as first feared, with the versatile defender likely to be out for one to two weeks rather than the month feared initially.
“The one thing I have to say is that all the injures we are getting are getting picked up in games,” said Moyes.
“Does that make it any better? No. But it is not as if we are running them too hard and doing too much in training.
“It is the opposite. We are getting them all in games, I think Vito Mannone was the only one we didn’t get in a game.
“We just have to live with it. Every football club gets injuries. We are getting our fair share of them at the moment.
“We have lost a few players long-term, people like Seb Larsson was probably carrying an injury from the Euros. It sounds like Lee Cattermole has been carrying an injury for a year or so.
“Two players back from international duty are doubts, Lamine Kone and Jason Denayer. There is very little you can do about that.
“Lamine finished the game, though, and that’s why I don’t want to totally rule him out.
“I always tend to think that if you finish the game, you’re not too bad, so we’ll wait and see where he is before making a decision.
“At the moment we are losing two or three players a game and that is a real problem.
“People mention us having to change the team but it is down to injuries as much as anything.
“We have been able to give younger players games though, as a result.
“Jordan Pickford and Lynden Gooch have done well, so there are some good things to come out of it.”
Cattermole, meanwhile, has had an injection in his hip in a bid to cure a long-standing back injury. There is no date yet for when he might return.
Moyes added: “With Lee, there seems to be something that we haven’t got to the bottom of, just yet.”