Sunderland handed another injury blow as defender faces 'weeks' out

Sunderland are sweating on the fitness of defender Arbenit Xhemajli – after he sustained an injury in international training.

Friday, 9th October 2020, 4:30 pm

Xhemajli was called-up to Kosovo’s under-21 squad for their game with Austria on Friday evening, and was then expected to join the senior squad for their next two games.

But Kosovan medical staff have today informed the Echo that the centre back sustained a right knee injury in training on Friday and will now miss this evening’s game.

Xhemajli will continue to be assessed in the coming days, but the initial signs are that Xhemajli could be sidelined for a number of weeks.

Arbenit Xhemajli

The Kosovan team doctor has confirmed that Sunderland’s physio, Peter Brand, was informed of the injury yesterday evening.

Any long-term injury would be a blow for Sunderland, who are already short on defensive options. Morgan Feeney faces up to four months on the sidelines while Tom Flanagan will be suspended for the visit to Swindon Town on October 17. Jordan Willis also has a minor issue with his knee, but featured off the bench against Carlisle on Tuesday evening.

Sunderland’s other options at centre back include Bailey Wright, Brandon Taylor and Conor McLaughlin.

Phil Parkinson is keen to add further defensive options to his ranks before the October 16 deadline, with a centre back high on the agenda following that long-term injury to Feeney.

And should Xhemajli face an extended spell on the sidelines, it may be that Parkinson dips into the market once again to bolster his depleted backline.