Sunderland dealt Arca blow
By Patrick Whyte. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Sunderland's survival hopes have been dealt a severe blow with the news that influential midfielder Julio Arca could be out of action for eight weeks.
The Argentinian appears to have aggravated an injury in Sunderland's Tyne-Wear derby defeat to Newcastle.
Arca suffered a metatarsal injury to his left foot during the Wearsiders' triumph at Middlesbrough around a month ago. However, he looks to have returned to the first team action prematurely as a scan after the Newcastle game revealed that he has a cracked metatarsal bone.
Mick McCarthy, who already has a number of injury problems, revealed he is not optimistic about a quick comeback.
"There is no timescale on his return," said a disappointed McCarthy.
"Perhaps in his haste to play against Newcastle and our desire to have him in the squad he has aggravated the injury.
"Perhaps in hindsight he shouldn't have been involved. Maybe then this week or next week he would have been all right. But that is 20-20 vision.
"He said he was fine before the game. He trained for two days and he was watched very closely. It was not a case of saying he would play in the derby, he was fine and trained perfectly.
"If you have a sore toe, it is very difficult to run or kick the ball, especially as it's his left foot. Well let's face it his right foot is for just standing on. But he got clattered in the derby as soon as he came on.
"He can't do anything. He is just doing work in the gym. He can't put weight on his toe, although he can walk on it. But there is nothing he can do about it. He gets treatment off a machine that helps the healing of the toe. He has bone bruising and he has a crack on the inside of it. There is nothing we can do. We just have to let it heal."
McCarthy knows how important Arca is to the Sunderland team, and his lay-off could be crucial ahead of their bottom of the table clash with Portsmouth.
"He is an important player for us. He was very instrumental last year and this season as well.
"He is a special player. He is technically gifted, he can find a pass or make a cross. We would like him back, of course."
McCarthy has other injury worries ahead of Saturday's match. Alan Stubbs (groin), Gary Breen (bruised rib) and Danny Collins (dead leg) are all doubts, Whilst Christian Bassilla, George McCartney, Kevin Kyle, Matt Piper and Colin Healy are all likely absentees.