Sunderland defender John Mensah has been ruled out for between two and three weeks after suffering a minor adductor tear during the Black Cats' 3-2 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion. The centre back has only managed to play in half of Sunderland's 32 matches this season, and the injury will probably rule him out for a further three matches.
Mensah's problem comes at exactly the wrong time for Steve Bruce's struggling squad, who've picked up just one point out of the last 24. Sunderland aren't scoring at all, nor are they defending particularly well, and although a shakeup in defence might be just what they need, losing a centre back to injury is hardly helpful when they started out with about one and a half fit ones.
Bruce is going to have to do some major juggling to figure out how his side will operate in Mensah's absence. With Sunderland absolutely plummeting down the table (they were in contention for a European place at the end of January are are now six points off relegation) it's going to take something very clever from the manager to put them back on course.