Sunderland defender Dan Ballard is an injury concern ahead of their match against Plymouth, Chronicle Live reports.
Sunderland’s Northern Irish centre-back missed the club’s last Championship game against Birmingham City as he was suspended. Now, he could miss a second league fixture in a row, this time due to injury.
Chronicle Live reports that the 24-year-old has suffered a hamstring injury whilst on international duty. The club are waiting to find out just how severe the injury is with Northern Ireland poised to assess the injury ahead of their Denmark game.
Ballard has been a key man for Sunderland this season as the club attempts to return to the Premier League. He and Luke O’Nien have formed a solid centre-back partnership and have become Tony Mowbray’s go-to men at the back.
Prior to his suspension, Ballard had been an ever present for the Black Cats, making 15 Championship appearances. That run could be further disrupted by a new injury blow, but time will tell just what the results of the assessment are.
Potential blow for Sunderland
It will be a blow for both the player and the club if Ballard is ruled out of action for any significant length of time. Mowbray would be hoping to pair O’Nein and Ballard together once more after they both missed the Birmingham City game.
But whilst O’Nein is likely to be available for the game, Ballard may not be. That would be a worry for Sunderland as they will want as many first-team regulars as possible available for the hectic schedule they face over the Christmas period.
Ballard is a key figure at the back for the Black Cats. He offers height and physicality alongside O’Nien, who is on the shorter side for a central defender.
Whilst the likes of Nectar Triantis and Jenson Sleet will be able to deputise in the short-term, Sunderland will be eager to get their first-choice defenders back as soon as possible.