Sunderland boss David Moyes has been dealt a monumental blow to his plans of maintaining his side’s Premier League status after Jordan Pickford has been sidelined for at least three months.
The England under-21 international has undergone scans after picking up a knee injury in the Black Cats’ 3-1 Boxing Day defeat to Manchester United.
— NinetyMinutesOnline (@90MinsOnline) December 28, 2016
A more precise prognosis by a specialist will confirm the true extent of the damage, but The Guardian report that the initial assessment from the club’s medical staff indicate the star shot-stopper could be out of action for a minimum of 12 weeks.
The North East side have relied heavily on the 22-year-old’s match-winning saves this season, and Moyes will be extremely concerned with the possibility of being without such a vital player for a long period of time.
It is likely that now-number-two Vito Mannone will reclaim his role in the starting XI ahead of the Wearsiders trip to Burnley on New Year’s Eve, which he lost after picking up an elbow injury earlier this campaign.
Pickford’s injury will be added to the long-list of suffers at the Stadium of Light this term with Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair already ruled out until next season, while Jan Kirchhoff, Lee Cattermole and Lynden Gooch will not return until mid-March at the very earliest.
Alongside this, Lamine Kone, Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong will also be likely absentees for a noticeable period of time whilst they represent their countries in the African Cup of Nations, piling more strain on an already depleted Sunderland squad.