David Moyes has been forced to add another goalkeeper to his transfer wish-list after Vito Mannone was ruled out for three months.
The club’s number one keeper ruptured ligaments in his elbow in training, with England Under-21 international Jordan Pickford now set for an extended run in the side.
Moyes has backed Pickford, who kept a clean sheet in the EFL Cup win over Shrewsbury, ahead of today’s game at Southampton.
But he will have to add another keeper to his squad, with Under-23 keeper Max Stryjek the only other option.
It was originally feared that Mannone had suffered a fractured elbow, but, after the Italian saw a specialist, it has been confirmed as ligament damage.
“Football has lots of trials and we have another one with Vito – he has ruptured ligaments in his elbow,” confirmed Moyes.
That is disappointing for Vito, more importantly, but means we need to bring in another goalkeeperDavid Moyes
“We are having a second opinion to see whether it will go in a brace or need an operation, but either way it is a minimum of three months.
“That is disappointing for Vito, more importantly, but means we need to bring in another goalkeeper.
“It is part of a footballer’s life isn’t it, unfortunately. It was the last cross in training, Joel [Asoro] just caught his arm as he was pushing the ball away.
“It is always the way, it is really unfortunate.
“We will do everything we can to get him back as quickly as we can.
“As one door closes, another opens for Jordan to show his worth.
“He has to now show he is capable of wearing the gloves and carrying it off.
“I think it can be difficult for young goalkeepers because there is a lot of responsibility and at the moment we are doing more defending than I would like as well, our goalkeeper will be relied upon and needed.
“We have confidence in him – everyone likes him.
“Can he develop from the boy everyone is talking about into the top goalkeeper everybody believes he is going to become?”
One possible option is England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who is free to leave Manchester City on loan.
But the reported £7million loan fee wanted by City, plus his £125,000 a week wages would prove a major stumbling block for Sunderland and likely price them out of a move.
Moyes refused to be drawn on Hart, adding the club needs to assess what is available in the market over the coming days.
Moyes added: “I will need to wait and see what is available in the next few days.
“We will give Jordan the jersey just now and see how it goes, it is more a case of seeing what can and can’t be got.”