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Sunderland face anxious wait

Sunderland are sweating on the fitness of key striker Steven Fletcher after he picked up an ankle injury on international duty with Scotland.

Fletcher, 26, was taken off on a stretcher just two minutes into Scotland's 2-1 World Cup qualifying defeat to Wales on Friday night. Although the extent of the injury is not yet known, there is growing concern that the former Wolves man could be out for six weeks which would see him miss most of the run-in.

The club have already confirmed there has been no break, leaving just the threat of ligament damage, with more news expected within the next 48 hours.

Any potential absence would be a huge blow for Martin O'Neill's side, who currently sit just four points above the relegation zone, with games against Manchester United, Chelsea and Everton in the coming weeks.

Following the January exits of Louis Saha and Fraizer Campbell, O'Neill only has Connor Wickham and new arrival Danny Graham in Fletcher's absence.

Graham moved to the Stadium of Light from Swansea for £5 million having netted four goals in his last four games but he has found it difficult to continue that form on Wearside. Given some fans were against his signing due to his ties with Newcastle, now would be the perfect time for the striker to break his Black Cats' duck and replace the void left by the club's current top scorer.

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