Steven Fletcher will undertake an operation to repair damaged ankle ligaments this week, Sunderland have confirmed.

Fletcher sustained the injury whilst on international duty with Scotland, when the Scots lost 2-1 to Wales in the World Cup qualifier in Cardiff back in March. Fletcher has not played since, and the £14m summer signing from Wolverhampton Wanderers had already missed three games prior to the match against Newcastle.

Fletcher has managed 11 league goals this season for the Black Cats, and his strikes have already been severely missed, with the next nearest scorer behind him Craig Gardner with six goals. 

New boss Paolo Di Canio has turned to strikers Danny Graham and Connor Wickham to ensure the club can score enough goals to pull away from the relegation zone.

Another casualty to be ruled out for the rest of the season along-side Fletcher was Lee Cattermole, who had his season ended early due to a persistent knee injury.

Sunderland remain only three points clear of the teams in the drop-zone with five games left to play. Sunderland would have been grateful of Manchester City’s victory over fellow strugglers Wigan last night, with the Latics holding a game in hand over their relegation rivals.            

A promising sign for everyone at Sunderland was the 3-0 victory over Newcastle last week, with midfielders Stephane Sessegnon, Adam Johnson and David Vaughan chipping in with goals to take the pressure of the misfiring Sunderland front men.


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