Sunderland manager Lee Johnson says fitness issues are restricting his side, after Dennis Cirkin and Callum Doyle picked up injuries in their 1-0 win over Bolton on Saturday.
Both Cirkin and Doyle have impressed considerably for the Black Cats since joining in the summer transfer window from Tottenham and Manchester City respectively.
However, both players had to be withdrawn during that victory over the Trotters due to injury concerns picked up during the game, Cirkin with an apparent concussion, and Doyle with a back issue.
Now it seems as though Sunderland may face something of a wait to establish just how long the defensive duo might be out for.
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Providing an update on the pair after the game, Johnson was quoted by The Shields Gazette as saying: “Dennis was outstanding and you can see now why we signed him. We’re still chasing fitness with a few and you can see that in games.
“It’s a bit frustrating and probably the reason we’re not able to quite win games by a higher margin. With Callum, he had a bit of a stiff back going into the game yesterday and he just needed a bit of treatment ahead of it.
“It’s just seized up on him towards the end there I think and so we had to bring him off. Whether he’s available for Tuesday, we’ll have to see.”
That win keeps Sunderland in the automatic promotion places in League One, with the Black Cats next in action when they welcome Cheltenham Town to the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night.
It could be a nervous wait for Sunderland when it comes to news on the fitness of Doyle and Cirkin.
Both have been really impressive for the Black Cats since joining the club, and could certainly be important as Sunderland look to win promotion back to the Championship.
As a result, the club will surely be desperate for positive news about the pair here, that ensures they will have them available again sooner rather than later.
If they don’t however, then there may still be hope for Sunderland, given Johnson does still have other strong options to call upon in defence in their absence.