Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has played down the severity of midfielder Adam Johnson's injury ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to West Ham but will not rush him back into the side in a bid to win much-needed points.

Johnson, who moved to the Stadium of Light this summer from Manchester City, sat out Sunderland's 1-1 draw against Liverpool last weekend after he picked up a thigh injury during his call up to the England squad.

"We were hoping that he [Johnson] would have made the fixture last weekend against Liverpool but that wasn't the case," O'Neill said. "He's progressing but it's too difficult or too early to say for this weekend from his viewpoint."

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