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Adam Johnson will play no part in Sunderland's Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester United as he stands trial accused of sexual activity with a child.
The 28-year-old former England winger's case is due to continue at Bradford Crown Court on Friday, two days after he admitted one charge of grooming and another of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl but denied two further counts of sexual activity with a child.
Johnson's situation was off limits at manager Sam Allardyce's press conference on Thursday afternoon, although he did confirm the player would not be part of his squad against the Red Devils.
Allardyce said: "He'll not be available for this weekend."
Asked if Johnson's absence would extend beyond that, with the trial scheduled to last more than two weeks, the 61-year-old said: "We will see how it goes after that."
It has been a testing couple of days for the club, who are currently battling to preserve their Premier League status with ?10million Johnson, who scored in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Liverpool, a key member of the squad.
However, the loss of the former Middlesbrough and Manchester City player is one of a series of selection problems for Allardyce as he attempts to build upon a creditable performance in defeat against City and the fightback draw at Anfield.
The manager, who has been laid low all week by the virus which kept Fabio Borini out of the Liverpool game, has also been hit by a rash of injuries.
Defender Younes Kaboul and striker Duncan Watmore have both suffered ankle ligament damage, full-back Billy Jones is struggling to shake off a hip problem and midfielder Jeremain Lens is awaiting diagnosis of a suspected hernia.
Allardyce said: "We have got Jeremain Lens, who looks like maybe - we are not absolutely certain - but looks like it may be a hernia. I think we can get that repaired and get him back on the field relatively quickly.
"Duncan looks longer-term with ankle ligaments; Younes Kaboul was fully fit last week and unfortunately turned his ankle on the Friday and he's out for a couple of weeks."
Allardyce said former Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue, who has been training with the cub in recent days, could yet win a short-term deal.
He said: "Obviously, he's not played for a long time and if he has got any sort of quality left that he had and showed at Arsenal, then he may later down the line be able to secure a short-term contract with us.
"Really at the moment, it's more a fitness regime to get him fit enough to play. If he's fit enough to play, we'll probably play him in a couple of behind-closed-doors games and make a decision from there.
"Like I said, if Emmanuel Eboue has still got what he had at Arsenal, then he could be very important to us later on this season."
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