Sunderland have been rocked by the news that star striker Steven Fletcher has been ruled out of action for six weeks, according to SkySports.
The Scottish striker picked up the shoulder injury in his side's 3-0 loss against West Bromwich Albion last weekend, which also turned out to be Paolo Di Canio's last game in charge before being sacked.
Fletcher ensured a blistering start to his Sunderland career following a £12 million move from relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers at the start of last season.
The striker picked up the Premier League player of the month award in September last year and by March he had 11 league goals to his name.
However an injury put him out for the rest of the season.
Former manager Martin O'Neil struggled without his target-man and was controversially sacked while Di Canio narrowly steered the Mackems to safety.
This season has been a poor one thus far for the north-east club despite Fletcher's goalscoring return against Crystal Palace.
Di Canio's run of one point from a possible 15 leaves the side rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table.
This is exactly the news that caretaker manager Kevin Ball didn't need as he prepares his charges for the visit of Liverpool to the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
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