SUNDERLAND look set to again be without star man Jack Clarke for this weekend's crunch trip to Norwich City, with the winger not yet back in training.

Clarke, it's understood, is also likely, at this stage, to miss next Tuesday's visit of league leaders Leicester City and is expected to still be a major doubt for the tough trip to Southampton four days later.

The former Leeds and Tottenham winger suffered an ankle ligament injury in the defeat at Birmingham City in what was Michael Beale's last game in charge.

He was sorely missed as Sunderland slumped to a 2-1 home defeat to Swansea City on Saturday, and interim head coach Mike Dodds told afterwards of his hope that the 23-year-old would soon be back in contention.

But, unless Clarke makes rapid improvements, it's thought at this stage that he faces a further fortnight or so out of action.


Dodds must find a way to cope without Clarke as the Black Cats head for Norwich looking to keep their fast fading play-off hopes alive after a run of three straight defeats.

With Sunderland's top scorer absent, Dodds opted to change shape for Saturday's visit of Swansea but it backfired badly in a nightmare first half.

The interim boss is likely to revert to a flat back four at Norwich. Romaine Mundle is an option to bring into the side with the winger having enjoyed an eye-catching first half in his full debut at Birmingham, before dropping to the bench at the weekend.

Patrick Roberts remains out of action having suffered a hamstring injury at Huddersfield.

Dodds will also be without Dan Ballard at Norwich on Saturday as the centre-half serves the second game of his two-match ban.