Sunderland have received bad news from the physio’s table after Black Cats goalkeeper Keiren Westwood returned from international duty injured.

Westwood, who became the second-choice goalkeeper to Simon Mignolet at the start of this year, had to withdraw from the Republic of Ireland international squad’s friendly against Greece due to a thigh strain.

He underwent a scan and will now be given an assessment by medical staff at Sunderland Football Club. A Football Association of Ireland spokesperson said yesterday: “The Football Association of Ireland confirmed that Keiren Westwood has been ruled out with a groin injury.

“Keiren underwent a scan this morning, and will return to his club for treatment.”

He was replaced by Millwall goalkeeper David Forde, but Martin O’Neill will be worrying about this latest setback for what is already a threadbare squad.

Westwood joined the Black Cats through a free transfer in July 2011, making his debut Sunderland start in a League Cup loss against Brighton in August of that year. He has also played for teams including Carlisle and Coventry.

Westwood was goalkeeper this season in the Capital One Cup win for Sunderland against Morecambe and he played for the Republic of Ireland in a friendly with Serbia and in their victory against Kazakhstan last month.

Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni’s assistant Marco Tardelli said of Westwood last month: “’Many players don’t play in the Premier League, it’s a big problem for us.

“I started to work here in 2008 and it’s the same problem always. Westwood, when he has played with the national team, has always played very well.

“Maybe it is better to stay on the bench at his club and to play for us.”

Sunderland play Fulham on Saturday and will be hoping that number one Simon Mignolet gets through the clash unscathed.

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