Sunderland have announced that centre-back Arbenit Xhemajli will miss the rest of the season after suffering an injury on international duty, which has drawn a frustrated reaction from fans of the North East club.
The 22-year-old joined the Black Cats this summer but has seen his debut season at the Stadium of Light cut short due to a knee injury picked up while playing for Kosovo.
Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson revealed the news on the club website today.
He said: “Unfortunately, Arby suffered a very serious knee injury whilst he was away with Kosovo.
“He will be out for the remainder of the season and it’s a real shame for him because he had settled into the club well.”
He added: “We feel for him, but we will give him all the support he needs to get through it, from the medical team and the staff to the players.
Xhemajli’s long-term injury means Parkinson is in a difficult situation ahead of Saturday’s game against Swindon Town, with Bailey Wright, Brandon Taylor and Conor McLaughlin the only central defenders available to him.
Sunderland have set up with three centre-backs this season but Morgan Feeney is facing a long period on the sidelines, Jordan Willis is carrying a knock and Tom Flanagan is suspended.
Reports earlier this week indicated that the Black Cats were hoping to sign another central defender before tomorrow’s deadline for domestic transfers and you feel they’re likely to intensify their efforts following this update.
Can you identify these 10 ex-Sunderland players by looking at these hidden images?
The injury blow has drawn a frustrated response from the Stadium of Light faithful, with many Sunderland fans taking to Twitter to voice their thoughts.
Read their reaction here:
— Niall (@niallm1999) October 15, 2020
I'm not the first to say it, but this club is cursed. We must have done something terrible in a previous life😒 https://t.co/er1ljiMHdu
— JamSarny (@Jam_Sarny) October 15, 2020
What a club man, nout gans right does it https://t.co/B7ZaIiJA3X
— Brett Mulcahy (@Brett_Mulcahy) October 15, 2020
— Robert Armstrong (@irobarmstrong) October 15, 2020
— Matthew (@MJacko1989) October 15, 2020
— l o r d b a r r o l d (@lord_barrold) October 15, 2020
— James Bovill (@JamesBovill1) October 15, 2020
SAFC. is. cursed. https://t.co/GrL3Tmm9n9
— Martin Wigham (@martin_wigham) October 15, 2020