Black Cats captain’s season over?
Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole will probably miss the remainder of the season, according to his manager Martin O’Neill.
The news, reported by Sky Sports, is another blow in what’s been a difficult 2013 for the Wearside club, who sit just four points above the relegation zone.
Cattermole has managed just ten league games this season, suffering crippling injuries to both knees that have kept him sidelined for long periods of time.
The stalwart’s absence seems to have had an adverse effect on the entire team, who lie 15th in the table, in what has been a turgid campaign for the Black Cats.
The tough-tackling midfielder has always been considered as a risky choice of club captain, with his very poor disciplinary record and often rash decision-making, making him a largely despised playerfor his opponents.
It is these detrimental characteristics which appear to mar and overshadow Cattermole’s considerable abilities as a player.
Nonetheless, what Cattermole does bring to the side is unerring passion and spirit; a quality O’Neill’s side have been pitifully short of this year.
And the Irishman was frank about the position of his skipper in an interview with the Sunderland Echo.
“We hope for the best but, to me, if he comes back this season, then that would be a bonus – and an unexpected bonus.
“We may have to cope without him, and even if he does successfully come back from the injury, he will still be nowhere near match fit.”
“We have had to do without him pretty much all season,”. “He has definitely been a loss to us, no question about that.
“We have missed that drive, the things that he would give us, but we have had to make do without it.
“We’ve had different combinations in midfield, we’ve had to play midfield players at full-back – all those type of things which eventually get lost in the mix.
“It has been a tough old season. It has been tough since the very first day down at the Emirates Stadium and that’s just the way it has been.
“But I think because we’ve been uncomfortably placed, the players are used to that, and should be able to rise to the occasion in these key games ahead.”