Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has revealed captain Lee Cattermole is likely to be sidelined until February with a knee injury.
The midfielder picked up the problem during Sunderland's goalless draw with QPR last month and, after seeing a specialist, has been told he is facing up to two months on the sidelines.
The news will be a huge blow to O'Neill, who is under pressure after a disappointing start to the season which has left the Black Cats just a point above the drop zone.
"He'll probably be about another two months," said O'Neill. "I knew the news wouldn't be too good. It could have been worse but obviously it could have been better."