GRANT LEADBITTER has been given compassionate leave from Sunderland to deal with some personal issues, and is not currently being considered for first-team duties.

Leadbitter was not involved in the squad for last weekend’s defeat at Portsmouth, but rather than being a selection issue following the recent arrival of fellow midfielder Josh Scowen, the midfielder’s absence was due to personal matters.

Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson was unwilling to elaborate on the nature of Leadbitter’s problems when he spoke to the press earlier today, but he confirmed the Black Cats’ medical staff will be working with the 34-year-old during his time away from the training ground.

Parkinson said: “Grant has got some personal issues at the moment and is going to have a few weeks away from the club. We want to respect that and give him every bit of help we can. It’s nothing to do with football or not being in the team, he’s just got some personal issues and needs some time away.

“We really do hope that goes well for him, and we can welcome back him back fitter and stronger than ever.

“I’ve discussed it with Grant, and we just want to leave it at that for now. All I can say is that Grant is a highly-respected member of the squad, not just because of his football ability but also his personality and character.

“You know about Grant and what his love for this club is about, but he needs a bit of time away and we want to respect that. But equally, our medical team will be helping him as well.”

As well as Leadbitter being absent from Saturday’s home game with Ipswich Town, Sunderland will also be without Joel Lynch after the defender suffered concussion in last weekend’s defeat at Fratton Park.

Charlie Wyke is a major doubt after injuring his shoulder in the same game, but scans have revealed the striker’s latest injury issue is not as bad as initially feared.

Parkinson said: “Joel has got the protocol with his concussion going on at the moment, but he also took a heavy blow to the ribs, which he’s had an X-ray on. They’re all clear, but he’s got bruising to his ribs, but he also fell awkwardly on his knee as well so there’s a couple of other injuries to do with the impact.

“But I think we’ve got away with it in a way because there’s nothing too serious and he’ll be back sooner rather than later.

“Charlie is similar. He went into the game with a bit of a problem with his shoulder, and the collision with the goalkeeper obviously made it worse. The early part of the week, he was struggling, and he’s had a scan on it.

“But he’s made good progress towards the end of the week and we’ll assess him towards the weekend.

“Joel will definitely miss this weekend, but on the coach on the way back from the game, I was concerned about both players being longer term. But I don’t believe that will be the case.”