McFadden injured as Noble returns
Striker James McFadden has been sidelined with a hamstring injury which could rule him out for the duration of his short-term deal at the Stadium of Light.
McFadden, 29, was expected to take part in Sunderland U21's fixture against their Southampton counterparts tonight, but was ruled out after pulling up with a hamstring problem in training.
The former Scotland international penned a short-term deal until the end of January when he signed for the Black Cats earlier in the month.
However this latest injury setback could rule McFadden out for the duration of his contract on Wearside.
Speaking to The Sunderland Echo Martin O'Neill revealed the bad news.
"I don`t know if we will see James in the team any time soon because on Thursday he pulled up with a hamstring,' admitted O'Neill.
"I hope it is not too serious, but he was certainly feeling it. So that is a setback.
"It is a real shame because James has worked exceptionally hard on his fitness and was enjoying the training.'
In other news, young forward Ryan Noble has returned to Sunderland after completing his loan spell at Hartlepool United.
The 21 year-old striker has completed his month-long loan spell at Victoria Park, scoring once in eight games.
Noble had previously struck twice in nine games towards the back end of last season during another loan spell with the Teessiders.