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Sunderland Seek Answers With Coates Crocked

There appears to be a nice little defensive crisis budding. Peachy.

Nigel Roddis

Sebastian Coates' stuttering start to this Sunderland career is showing no signs of smoothing, with Gus Poyet confirming the club are seeing more specialised answers to the defender's troublesome thigh injury.

The Uruguayan was a deadline day loan arrival from Liverpool, but since then has only managed to play 45 fairly wretched minutes of football against Stoke City in the League Cup. It's nothing serious, insists Poyet, but it's sufficient enough to hamper him.

It's not serious. It was a precaution to take him off against Stoke, but we need to check a few more things.

It's a strange one. He can do 90 per cent of whatever action you ask him to do. But it's one particular action when it causes him to feel something in there.

We want to see if we can do more tests and make sure that it's right. It would be a shame if he can't play.

He can run up and down, and do sprinting.

But when he's in a position where he's really fighting with a striker and over-stretches himself, or hits a long ball, that's what causes the problem.

He can train practically every day. I asked him one day to train and only pass it with his left foot. I asked him if he felt it and he said ‘no'.

Then in the Stoke game, he had a few fights with the striker and he didn't get injured or pull up. But it was there, so you feel it.

It's fair to say that Coates was clearly not fit for purpose against Stoke, so you wonder whether Poyet is really telling the whole truth here.

I just hope it is the 'Steven Fletcher solution' that is being pursued here. You know, when you do nothing and just kind of hope the player quietly reveals himself to be a medical marvel, then wind up losing him for twice as long through sheer indecision.

Whatever happens here, with Wes Brown also struggling with injury, the defence is starting to look pretty threadbare right now.

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