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Sunderland set to be without Danny Batth over Christmas

Sunderland look to have suffered a big injury blow in the build-up to Christmas, with Danny Batth likely to be sidelined with a calf injury.

What’s the word?

The experienced centre-back was forced off in last weekend’s game against Hull City and Tony Mowbray has provided a worrying update on his injury situation.

He said: “It’s very, very rare that you have your whole squad fit and available. Danny Batth felt his calf. Whether it is a tear, I’m not sure, but he felt a sharp pain in his calf as he pushed off and he had to come off.”

Fortunately for the Black Cats, Daniel Ballard was able to make his long-awaited return from injury in the same game, replacing Batth after his injury, while Bailey Wright will also soon be back in contention after returning from the World Cup, where he helped Australia reach the round of 16 before defeat against eventual winners Argentina.

Gutting news for Mowbray

This will be a frustrating and gutting situation for Mowbray, as Batth has been a crucial part of Sunderland’s strong start to life back in the Championship, as only he and Anthony Patterson have started every single game in the second tier.

Only seven players in Mowbray’s side have been ranked higher than the former Wolves man according to WhoScored this campaign, which emphasises just how important he is at the back for the north east outfit.

The 32-year-old leads the way for clearances and aerial duels won per game by defenders in Sunderland’s squad, living up to his description as “colossal” by journalist Josh Bunting.

Indeed, the titanic defender has made a whopping 4.1 clearances per game – a team-high – and has also won 3.9 aerials a match, the second-best in the entire squad.

The Christmas period is always a busy one and with Sunderland set to face promotion hopefuls Blackburn Rovers on Boxing Day, Mowbray will certainly be gutted that he will be without his most-reliable centre-back.

Hopefully, for the Black Cats, Batth’s calf injury will be a minor one and he can make his return to action as soon as possible, as he will undoubtedly be vital to their hopes of being in the playoff picture over the final few months of the season.