Premier League Preview: West Ham United v Sunderland
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill may have to do without recent acquisition Adam Johnson for his side's tricky trip to West Ham.
Johnson has played two matches for Sunderland since joining in a 12 million pound move from Manchester City but the 25-year-old winger has been on the club's injury list since straining his thigh while on international duty with England a fortnight ago.
Sunderland had expected Johnson to be fit again for the trip south to take on West Ham after he missed last week's 1-1 draw with Liverpool but O'Neill has now conceded that is unlikely after a setback in the winger's recovery.
"I don't know, I really don't know," O'Neill said.
"We were hoping he would have made it for the Liverpool game, he did a little bit on Thursday and didn't feel any sort of ill effects on it at all, then on Friday he pulled up after a minute or two, so I really just don't know.
"It was a blow to us, because we were hoping he could make it."
Johnson started his Sunderland career with assists in the club's League Cup victory over Morecambe and their 2-2 draw with Swansea.
Sunderland have brought in a number of new players for this season with Johnson joined by the likes of Steven Fletcher, Louis Saha and Carlos Cuellar as newcomers to the squad.
But O'Neill remains unconvinced his side has improved and concedes injuries will probably decide Sunderland's season.
"I'm obviously delighted with Fletcher and delighted that we've been able to get Adam Johnson in, I think we've missed him because he's able to give us that extra something which we just don't possess in abundance here," O'Neill said.
"But we've also lost a few players too and we need the major players to stay fit - that's the most important thing.
"If they do, then we'll be okay."
Sunderland have started the EPL season with three draws and will head to London hoping to earn their first league victory of the season.
But O'Neill's men will face a tough challenge in Sam Allardyce's West Ham, who have started their first season back in the EPL with two wins, a draw and a loss.
Allardyce's big worry ahead of Sunday's game will be who to start up front with Andy Carroll still out with a hamstring injury and Carlton Cole having limped off in West Ham's 0-0 draw away to Norwich with a troublesome toe.
That could open the door for Malian striker Modibo Maiga, who has yet to start a match for West Ham since joining from Sochaux in the European summer, although he has come off the bench three times.