Sunderland injury news: This is why Danny Batth and Callum Doyle missed win at Wigan Athletic

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Alex Neil says he is hopeful that both Danny Batth and Callum Doyle will shortly be available for Sunderland selection.

The pair were both absent from the matchday squad on Saturday as the Black Cats secured a shock 3-0 win over Wigan Athletic, and their absence underlined the paucity of options Neil has in the aftermath of Tom Flanagan's deadline-day departure for Shrewsbury Town.

Neil revealed that while Doyle has been experienced some minor discomfort in his hip, the decision was mostly based on the fact that the head coach believes he is at risk of burnout and in need of a rest.

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Batth continues to struggle with an ankle issue that has troubled him for most of his time on Wearside to date.

Sunderland defender Callum DoyleSunderland defender Callum Doyle
Sunderland defender Callum Doyle

"Danny's has been rumbling on, really," Neil said.

"It's just on the bridge of his foot/ankle, and it just keeps swelling up and then going down, and swelling again.

"That's just really unfortunate. I don't think it's going to be anything long term.

"With Callum, we've spoken about how knackered he is.

"He was feeling a little bit of an impingement on his hip, nothing too significant, but I just basically said to him to go and have four or five days off, chill out, and we'll see you next week.

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"Listen, could he have played a cup final? Probably, but the kid needs a rest, so that's where we are."

Those injuries handed an unexpected league debut to Arbenit Xhemajli, whose superb display drew praise from Neil.

"Arby has not played for a long, long time so I was delighted for him that he got an opportunity, and he put in a real, solid performance for us," Neil said.

"Arby is hungry to play, you saw at the end there he went down with cramp and that's always the concern.

"I'll think he'll be OK.

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"It's just trying to get people up to speed. What I will say that is because we didn't deploy a man-for-man system like we have done in one or two other games, that backline was protected.

"We played solid and narrow, and our two wide players and forwards did the bulk of the running."

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