Lee Cattermole missed Sunderland’s 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United with a groin injury, Simon Grayson has confirmed.
Winger Aiden McGeady, who injured his hamstring on international duty, also missed the game along with Bryan Oviedo who had been away on international duty.
Lamine Kone started the game and was named as captain but he went off at half-time with a groin injury.
Grayson said: “Lee tweaked his groin Thursday so we decided it was safer to leave him out because if he started it might have ruled him out for three or four weeks.
“McGeady was the same, Oviedo had flown from one side of the world to the North East so we missed them three players that would have all started in the team.
“It is part and parcel of football. Lamine Kone came off injured with a groin injury.
“These things are going against us but I’m not using them as an excuse.”