GUS POYET has five players who are rated “50-50” for Sunderland’s trip to Swansea this weekend.
But Connor Wickham has been ruled out of the Liberty Stadium clash after suffering a calf injury in the warm-up during Tuesday night’s FA Cup fourth round win at Fulham.
Wickham joins Lee Cattermole on the sidelines, yet it is several other players who have question marks hanging over their heads that are worrying head coach Poyet.
Adam Johnson, Emanuele Giaccherini, Billy Jones, Jack Rodwell and Will Buckley are injury doubts, with Poyet not likely to risk all of them in Saturday’s encounter.
Poyet said today: “Lee Cattermole is out and I’d say 99 per cent that Connor is too.
“There are four or five who are 50-50.
“We need to manage the situation a little bit.
“Jack had a problem with his groin on the morning on Tuesday.
“Giaccherini had that tackle late in the game (at Fulham). The scans show there is nothing to the bone. It’s just a big bruise, nothing else.
“It’s painful at the moment, but we’re hoping it improves for tomorrow.
“Jonno with the thumb. Let’s hope that the wound is completely closed, so there are no issues for him to play.
“Tomorrow is a big day.”
Poyet is also mindful that Sunderland have a crunch clash against fellow strugglers QPR next Tuesday and wants to give the five injury doubts the best chance of returning for that Stadium of Light encounter.
“We need to be very careful for Saturday,” added Poyet.
“When you have players who have a chance to get injured, you cannot risk them all.
“You need to make sure you keep someone safe for Tuesday.
“I’m not looking too far in advance, but I’ll see what happens tomorrow and then pick the team.”