O'Neill waits on Bendtner

Striker absence would limit Black Cats' attacking options

Nicklas Bendtner: Injury doubt as Martin O'Neill looks to start his Sunderland reign in style

New Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill is facing an attacking crisis ahead of his first game at the helm.

Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner is struggling to be fit for Sunday's crucial Premier League clash with relegation rivals Blackburn Rovers.

Much of fourth-bottom Sunderland's disappointing slide down the table has been down to the toothless Black Cats' inability to score goals.

O'Neill will only have rookies Ji Dong-Won and Ryan Noble available if Bendtner, who has scored just two goals since his season-long loan move from Arsenal, fails to recover from a groin problem.

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But the Northern Irishman is refusing to rule out his most experienced forward until closer to kick-off.

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He said: "Nicklas has a groin problem and we'll see how he is towards the weekend.

"But if the game was today he wouldn't make it as it stands."

Injured strike pair Connor Wickham and Fraizer Campbell are still weeks away from returning and O'Neill may be forced to push Stephane Sessegnon or Kieran Richardson further forward.

Centre-half Michael Turner is also a huge doubt for Sunderland after missing last weekend's 2-1 defeat at Wolves.Bet Now