AFTER Sunderland’s failure to climb off the foot of the Championship by slipping to another defeat at Middlesbrough, Robbie Stockdale has revealed that a new manager could inherit more injury problems after the international break.

The Black Cats’ latest unsuccessful attempt to win for the second time this season ended in a 1-0 reversal at Middlesbrough when Didier Ndong, Billy Jones and John O’Shea all left the Riverside Stadium with fresh injury problems.

To add to the frustration on that front Sunderland had to travel to Teesside without Duncan Watmore and Lamine Kone and co-caretaker boss Stockdale has revealed that all will be assessed “and more will be known in the next few days”.

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Stockdale will continue to operate alongside Billy McKinlay this week while chief executive Martin Bain and the club’s owner Ellis Short attempt to appoint a manager they believe is capable of delivering a turnaround.

Former Rangers manager Ally McCoist, a former Sunderland player, was strongly linked with the post again on Sunday, although Bain and Short are known to be assessing the merits of a number of targets.

Stockdale said: "Nothing new from when I spoke to you guys on Friday. I was fully focused on this game. We have an international break to go into now, I'm sure the club will be having discussions."

Whoever comes in has a massive challenge on his hands to lift Sunderland. They are three points adrift of safety and sit bottom of the Championship for the first time since August 2006. They are aiming to avoid slipping into the third tier for only the second time in the club’s history.

Sunderland actually performed relatively well at Middlesbrough but lost to Marcus Tavernier’s sixth minute winner.

Stockdale said: “I am really disappointed to have lost the game. I thought we were well in the game. For it to be decided within the first six minutes was disappointing after the opportunity we had to score.

"I am not going to sit here and say we are unlucky losers, we could have said that too many times this year. It is up to us to change that and become lucky winners occasionally.

"It is not ideal to be bottom, is it? It is not what any of us want. I didn’t see that in the game, I thought the players gave their all.

“We were forced into substitutions earlier and Paddy McNair played longer than we were hoping he would play. That injury to Billy and then to Didier probably affected our gameplan a little bit and then John O'Shea was struggling with his calf a little bit so we were holding on for the next substitution as it would have been our last one.

“We lost Duncan with a little niggle on Friday and Lamine the day before. I thought the effort and the attitude of the players was first class but we didn’t create enough second half to put Middlesbrough under pressure."

Stockdale was non-committal on whether he would like the opportunity on a full-time basis, although he admits whoever comes in is going to inherit a dressing room drained of confidence and morale.

He said: "Our sole focus of myself and Billy was this game. Obviously it buys the club a little bit of time to assess what they want to do. Whatever they decide to do, we will back it.

"It was a big afternoon for me, Billy and the rest of the staff were fantastic and we worked well together. You look back now and think no, I didn't really enjoy it because you don't enjoy losing the game. I always knew it would be a tough afternoon.

"We have to keep working hard. At some point we have to make the big opportunity in games ours, at both ends of the pitch. I thought we looked more solid in terms of how we set up, we set up in a certain way.

“That got affected by the injuries we picked up in the week and the injuries in the game. The players were very flat, players staff disappointed obviously."

Asked if he felt there was enough in the squad to get them out of trouble, Stockdale said: "Yes, I certainly do. You look at the group of players we have got, I am convinced they will pull a way out of this."