Mick McCarthy’s injury worries are mounting ahead of the season’s crucial final matches against Crewe, Norwich and Burnley – matches which will ultimately determine whether or not Sunderland go through to the play-offs.
Paul Thirlwell was unconscious for four minutes last night after a clash of heads with Everton’s Steven Schumacher, early on in the clubs’ reserve match last night. He was taken to a Merseyside hospital where a CAT scan (a radiographic test showing the brain in two dimensions) was done on the player. The club has confirmed today that Thirlwell has a fractured skull and is being kept in hospital for several more days.
Right-back Stephen Wright will miss the remaining three league matches because of a torn thigh muscle. Wright limped off during the Lads’ televised game against Wigan last Saturday – his first match after missing five while recovering from a thigh strain. Darren Williams will continue to deputise at right back.
Julio Arca – who was recently named in the PFA First Division Team of the Year – is waiting for the results of a scan on his knee which should determine whether or not he will be able to play for Sunderland again this season. The young Argentinian sustained a knee injury in training and was a late withdrawal from the line-up which drew 0-0 with Wigan.
George McCartney pulled out of Northern Ireland’s line-up for tonight’s friendly against Serbia & Montenegro, while Jason McAteer and Gary Breen also withdrew from the Republic of Ireland’s squad for tonight’s friendly against Portugal, citing niggling injuries which they were reluctant to aggravate.