Steven Fletcher injury boost for Sunderland

Steven Fletcher was injured against West Bromwich Albion. Picture: Getty
Steven Fletcher was injured against West Bromwich Albion. Picture: Getty
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Sunderland have been handed a boost with the news that Steven Fletcher’s shoulder injury is not as serious as was first feared.

The former Hibs striker dislocated his shoulder during last Saturday’s 3-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at West Brom, and there were concerns that he could be sidelined for several months.

However, interim head coach Kevin Ball said yesterday: “The news is better than we expected. Hopefully, it will be four to six weeks [until he returns].”

Fletcher, who was the Black Cats’ top scorer with 11 goals last season, missed the end of last season and the start of the current campaign after undergoing ankle surgery.

Yesterday’s news means the striker will miss Scotland’s final World Cup qualifying match against Croatia in October, although the Scots’ presence in the qualifying campaign has long been academic.

Meanwhile, Bolton Wanderers have signed Cardiff defender Kevin McNaughton on a one-month loan deal.

The 31-year-old has made 283 appearances for the Bluebirds since moving to South Wales in 2006 but has yet to feature in a Premier League game.

The former Aberdeen defender, who can play anywhere in the back four, will be hoping to play regular football during his loan spell at the Reebok Stadium.