Sunderland have been hit hard by the news that midfielder Lee Cattermole will be sidelined for up to three months after damaging knee ligaments during the 1-0 win over Liverpool on Saturday.
Despite the setback, manager Steve Bruce said the club were just relieved that the injury was not more serious.
“It’s not good news, but it’s the best we could have hoped,” said Bruce.
“We were all praying he hadn’t done his cruciate and damaged cartilage, which thankfully he hasn’t – but he’s still out for the best part of three months.”
The 21 year old signed for Sunderland from Bruce’s former club Wigan in the summer.
He made his breakthrough at Middlesbrough after coming up through the ranks and has been capped by England at under 21 level.