Sam Allardyce has confirmed that Jermain Defoe and Sebastian Larsson are likely to miss Sunderland’s Premier League clash with Arsenal on Saturday.
Both players started but were then substituted during the 2-0 win over Stoke City at the weekend, a result which lifted Sunderland out of the relegation zone.
But the coach revealed Defoe has suffered a fresh hamstring issue and not an aggravation of a previous ankle problem, meaning he – and Larsson – will be ruled out for the trip to the Emirates Stadium.
“Jermain suffered an injury to his hamstring, not his ankle – he felt it go, sadly – and obviously Seb Larsson [has] medial ligaments [issues],” Allardyce told Sunderland’s official website.
“Hopefully they will be fit as quickly as possible – they probably aren’t going to be fit for next weekend but hopefully the week after.”
In December, Sunderland face trips to Chelsea and Manchester City and the visit of Liverpool to the Stadium of Light.
But Allardyce is hopeful they can spring a surprise result as the pressure will be on their more fancied opponents.
“We will go into the big games as the underdogs and tell the lads to enjoy themselves because nobody expects you to get a result,” he added.
“Hopefully we can shock one or two because the lads have enough confidence in their ability to play any team at any time.
“You can beat them if you’re on song and you take full advantage of what you create, so let’s hope that is the case.”