SUNDERLAND could be without Jenson Seelt for up to nine months after it was confirmed the defender needs surgery on his knee injury.

Mike Dodds described the setback as the "worst case scenario" for the Dutch defender.

Seelt played the full 90 minutes of Sunderland's 4-2 defeat to Southampton and didn't realise he'd suffered the injury until the next morning when his knee swelled. Scans revealed the severity of the setback and after further tests it was decided surgery was required.

"Unfortunately it is the worst-case scenario for Jenson, he is going to need an operation," said Dodds.

"That means he's looking at about six to nine months out. As I said before, I've never experienced anything like it, but it is what it is.

"I feel for Jenson because just when he was going to get his opportunity this happens but that's football sometimes. It's part of the challenge for young footballers, it's going to be a challenge for him but he seems to be in a good place and has processed the outcome. But unfortunately for him it's going to be a long period of time out."


Injuries have plagued the Black Cats campaign but there is some light at the end of the tunnel for Dodds ahead of Good Friday's trip to Cardiff City.

Corry Evans, Bradley Dack and Aji Alese have played minutes for Sunderland's U21s side over the course of the international break, while Patrick Roberts is also back in training.

"Pat has done three or four sessions now so he's training with the group," Dodds said.

"Obviously we've got to be mindful of the fact he's had two hamstring injuries this year and we've got two games in a short space of time, or three games if you include the following Saturday.

"Corry has been training full contact now. He's back with the group. Aji played some minutes for the U21s, so he's back training.

"Dack is available. He's been training, so, to have people like Corry and Dacky in the group, I think just in terms of their experience, it's hugely valuable for everyone. They're the main ones."

However, talisman Jack Clarke is unlikely to feature for Sunderland this Friday and remains a doubt for Monday's clash with Blackburn Rovers. Dodds said: "Jack is still a question mark at the moment. Unfortunately, we were hoping based on his history, that would be quicker than the prognosis, but unfortunately that's not the case.

"Jack is out on the grass, he is running but I don't think he's going to be available this weekend."

Nazariy Rusyn is also set to miss the next couple of weeks with his injury worse than first thought after seeing a specialist.

"Yeah it's a real strange one," Dodds admitted. "He took a contact injury against Southampton. He came out and trained the Tuesday afterwards and complained of some issues with his calf.

"Based on the specialist, they still think he'll be a couple of weeks. So, we should see Rusyn before the end of the season, but I think the reality is, it'll be the latter end of the season for Naz."