Mensah suffers another setback
Sunderland defender John Mensah will be sidelined for at least three weeks after it was confirmed he has torn a groin muscle.
The 28-year-old Ghana international, whose time on Wearside has been plagued by injuries, suffered a Grade Two adductor tear just 11 minutes into Saturday's 3-2 home defeat by West Brom and will sit out the rest of the month.
Mensah had managed to put together a run of seven successive starts, but his fitness problems have returned to haunt him once again.
The defender, who is currently on a second season-long loan deal from French club Lyon, has proved a key man when he has been fit.
However, that has become increasingly rare and manager Steve Bruce's decision on whether or not to make his move permanent during the summer is becoming more straightforward by the week.
Bruce is currently trying to get to the bottom of just why so many of his players break down in games with Mensah, Kieran Richardson and Anton Ferdinand all limping off on Saturday.
In the short-term, the manager has a headache for Saturday's crucial Barclays Premier League trip to former club Birmingham with Mensah joining Titus Bramble on the sidelines and Ferdinand battling to shake off a hamstring problem.
Michael Turner is just two games into his comeback from a lengthy lay-off with a knee injury, but Bruce's options in central defence are now severely limited, and that could mean a move into the middle for regular right-back Nedum Onuoha.