Everton defender Tyias Browning suffered a groin injury while playing for loan side Sunderland against Aston Villa on Tuesday night, which it has now been confirmed will sideline him for the rest of the season.
The 23-year-old had been a key player at the back for the Mackems after making 29 appearances in all competitions for the Championship strugglers following his temporary move to the Stadium of Light last summer, but his campaign has now been brought to a premature end.
The centre-back pulled up just before the half-hour mark against the Villans, and when it was clear that he wasn’t able to continue he was replaced by Billy Jones at the back.
It has left Black Cats boss Chris Coleman with something of a central defensive crisis ahead of their match against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, with Lamine Kone potentially the only player that will be available with Jake Clarke-Salter suspended, Paddy McNair definitely out through injury and John O’Shea a doubt.
Browing has made nine first-team outings for Everton since his debut as a substitute in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool in September 2014, but he hasn’t appeared for them since the 2015/16 campaign with loan spells with Championship clubs Preston North End and then Sunderland following since then, with Toffees fans hoping he would improve during his time on Wearside.