Sunderland suffer defensive injury blow as boss explains Leeds United striker decision
Sunderland are monitoring Aji Alese ahead of the trip to Norwich City this weekend after Tony Mowbray confirmed that his withdrawal from the 5-1 defeat to Stoke City was enforced.
Alese and Joe Gelhardt were replaced by Luke O'Nien and Edouard Michut at the break, with O'Nien moving to the left back role for the second half.
Mowbray said the decision to replace Gelhardt was tactical, with the youngster wanting to protect him for the rest of the season ahead and get Amad in more advanced positions.
It was a chastening afternoon for Mowbray and his side, who now face a challenging run of four games against promotion hopefuls as they look to turn around their poor run of form.
"Aji was injured so he had to come off," Mowbray confirmed after the game.
"That's disappointing and I'm not quite sure how bad that is going to be. With young Gelhardt I just think the confidence is low and I didn't want to expose him, I wanted to get Amad higher up the pitch because we've done that with relative success in the past.”