Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has said he hopes his side will have recovered from some of the injuries sustained by the international break.
His side came back down to earth with a bump on Sunday afternoon after they were hammered by Everton 6-2 at Goodison Park, with Lee Cattermole limping off to add to their growing injury list.
Allardyce seems concerned about the situation, and is quoted in the Sunderland Echo saying: “We can’t afford too many injuries in the position we’re in.
“It’s a bit of an ongoing problem with Cattermole.
“He hasn’t been training too much and we’ve been managing him through it.
“We’ve got to find a cure.
“Hopefully by the end of the international break, we’ll have completely recovered from the injuries and got John O’Shea and Younes Kaboul back."
Injuries to key players are not going to help Sunderland in their fight to move away from the drop zone. The weekend's results means they are currently two points adrift from safety in 19th place in the Premier League, with near neighbours Newcastle United climbing above them thanks to a 0-0 draw with Stoke City.
The centre-back partnership of Wes Brown and Sebastian Coates seemed all at sea at the weekend while Cattermole offers his side protection. Without him in the middle, there is a lack of aggression and protection for the side.
The side has proved over the course of the opening 11 games that they have goals in the side, but just can't keep them out, and Allardyce will be hoping that his experienced defenders become available very soon - with a home match against Southampton to come before the international break.