Sunderland manager Steve Bruce is distraught after losing forward Fraizer Campbell for the rest of the season to injury.
Campbell has a badly twisted knee and his team-mates will have to carry on without him for their English Premier League clash at Birmingham on Saturday.
“It’s devastating. Fraizer is likely to have to go back and see the specialist who operated on him previously,” Bruce said.
“He’ll open up the knee up and have a look to see how things are.”
Sunderland will head into Saturday’s encounter on a run of one draw and seven defeats out of their last eight games.
Bruce blamed a spate of injuries for his side’s catastrophic run of form.
“I hate to keep going on about injuries but it’s something I’m trying to dive into and analyse at the moment because it has left us very bare in certain areas for a long time,” he said.
“I have to address the problem and find out the reasons why. I don’t believe it’s coincidental.”
“I did see Everton last week with three or four missing, but we’ve had six or seven of our big players out for too long and it’s caught up with us.”
A former Birmingham boss, Bruce has told his side that the only way they can stop the rot is by winning against his old side on Saturday.
The 50-year-old still believes his team can even finish in the top half of the table despite their recent slump.
“The only way to get confidence back is with a win and a good performance and that is what we want this weekend,” Bruce said.
“Confidence is the biggest thing. If you could bottle it and sell it, it’d be marvellous.”
“We have to stick with the belief that what we’re doing is right and concentrate on getting that win because once it comes, it will lift everybody around the place.”
“Life, work and football are easy when things are going well.”
“A win on Saturday would lift us and set us on target once again for finishing in the top ten.”
Sunderland will be without defenders John Mensah (calf) and Titus Bramble (knee), midfielder David Meyler (knee) and forward Campbell (knee).
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