SUNDERLAND could again be without Nazariy Rusyn at Millwall on Saturday as the forward continues to battle a groin problem - leaving Tony Mowbray with a striker dilemma as the head coach warned of Eliezer Mayenda "red flags".

Rusyn missed Wednesday's defeat to Huddersfield Town and remains a doubt for the trip to The Den.

In the Ukrainian's absence, Mayenda was handed his first start against the Terriers, but Mowbray is wary of asking too much too soon from the teenager in what is his first season in the Championship and on the back of a major injury when he first joined the Black Cats.

That could mean Mowbray gives Mason Burstow his first start since the defeat at Leicester, though the Chelsea loanee has been nursing his own injury niggle of late. The head coach also has the option of going with Hemir up-front.

Sunderland are still waiting for a first goal from any of their strikers this season, and head for Millwall looking to get back on track after two frustrating defeats to Plymouth and Huddersfield - where the Black Cats had 51 shots on goal over the course of two games but only scored one goal.

"We've seen in flashes what Eliezer can do," Mowbray said.

"He's got power and speed, and it's just a case of understanding how we play. The bottom line is he hasn't had a chance to train with us much because he's been injured for so long, on day one he basically took his hamstring off the bone and he was out for a long spell after that.

"The little flashes we've seen in training is probably similar to what you've seen in the games, there is talent there.

"For us, there's red flags for us in that he's been out for months and then had parts of two games this week. It's a big, big call to throw him in for the third game - because there is a risk with that hamstring. We have a duty of care to him and we'll make that call over the next day or so."


Mowbray added: "We do have other options, though Nazariy is a doubt with that groin problem. He might try and train with us today [Friday], we'll wait and see on that one.

"As you know, Mason was having an issue with his foot that kept him out of the Plymouth game. But I expect him to train today so there will be options for me - I'll make a decision after training as to what route we go down."