Major fitness update on key Sunderland and Everton striker

Tony Mowbray says he is hopeful that Ellis Simms could yet feature against Watford on Saturday afternoon.

Simms limped off during the 3-0 win over Reading on Wednesday with an injury to his toe, leaving the Black Cats without a recognised striker in the side.

Mowbray was hopeful in the immediate aftermath of the game that there was no break and that appears to be the case.

The Everton loanee will undergo a fitness test on Friday afternoon and if he does not come through that, the head coach is very hopeful that he will be fit after the upcoming international break.

Ellis Simms picked up an injury at Reading

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“We're hoping he's going to be OK. It’s going to be a case of him getting his boot on – seeing what it’s like.

"I’ve just been talking to him there at breakfast, he'll have a jog about on the grass today and we'll wait and see. If the worst comes to worst and he can’t make the game tomorrow, we've got a break for two weeks and I'm sure he'll be fine after that.

"It’s touch and go [for tomorrow] as I sit here now, it’ll depend on our training session this afternoon and how he goes in that.

"It’s not all doom and gloom, even if Ellis doesn’t make tomorrow we scored three goals without him on the pitch on Wednesday night. We have to find a way, we know we’re playing a really strong side who were in the Premier League last year. They’ll be hurting from the other night and they’ll have a crowd right behind them, and our job is to go and try make them a bit nervous, keep the ball off them and try to create the chances.

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"It’s going to be a really interesting game. We have kept our feet on the ground after Wednesday night, and I hope I’m not sat after the game talking to you about how we maybe thought we were better than we are against Premier League quality.

"We will go out there from the first whistle to compete first and foremost, we’ll look to put our game plan into action and hopefully have a positive day. We have to earn the right to make it positive.”