Sunderland and Everton sweating on striker update after injury blow

Sunderland are facing a nervous wait after Ellis Simms suffered a toe injury at Reading on Wednesday night.

Any period of absence would leave Sunderland without a recognised senior striker; Ross Stewart already facing a battle to be play before the World Cup break due to a thigh problem.

Simms tried twice to run off the injury but with his toe numb he had to be withdrawn.

Head coach Tony Mowbray is hoeful that there is no broken bone but admits it is a major concern: “It's his big toe, on the joint.

Sunderland striker Ellis Simms

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“He was struggling to push off and it's numb at the moment. Whether we scan that tomorrow or whether it settles down overnight, we'll have to wait and see.

“It's the fact it was numb, I don't think it's broken but we'll have to let it settle and then reassess it again.”

In a remarkable sequence Sunderland scored twice within minutes of Simms’ injury, Patrick Roberts scoring a superb brace before Jack Clarke finished an excellent counter-attack to make it three in the second half.

Mowbray was thrilled with the football on show as his side moved into the top six in front of 2,000 travelling fans.

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“It wasn’t ideal losing Ellis, he brings us a physicality and he's key at defending set pieces, as well,” Mowbray said.

“I think we controlled the game with the ball. The team played well, I've talked a lot about Patrick Roberts this week and players having to step up for us. He did just that, he grasped the nettle for us.

“The third goal, I haven't seen it back yet but wow... what a goal.

“It was a good performance from us, we believed despite their excellent home record that we could win tonight if we did the basics well.

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“It was good to score three goals in front of our fans, it's amazing to see how many travelled so far on a Wednesday night. It's incredible but it doesn't surprise me, this club is a massive beast and we need to keep trying to feed it,” added the Sunderland boss.