Keane bemoans Etuhu's absence

Etuhu expected to be unavailable for six weeks

Etuhu: Nigeria call

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Sunderland boss Roy Keane is facing up to the prospect of losing midfielder Dickson Etuhu for up to six weeks following his inclusion in Nigeria's African Cup of Nations squad.

Keane has had some time to get used to the idea following the 25-year-old's elevation to the senior international ranks earlier this season.

However, his inclusion in Berti Vogts' preliminary 31-man squad for the tournament, which gets under way in Ghana on 20th January and runs until 10th February, has significantly increased the chances of a prolonged absence.

Vogts' insistence that his players meet up for a training camp in Spain two weeks before the competition has increased the pressure on their clubs, and Keane is well aware how much his summer signing from Norwich could be missed.

"Of course it is bad news, but it's out of our hands," Keane told the club's official website.

"There are a lot of clubs worse off than us - some have four or five players away.

Disappointed

"We are disappointed because the size of the squad here is not the biggest and injuries or people away are the last thing we need.

"But Dickson has been doing well and you cannot stop a player going away and representing his country. We wish him well.

"Hopefully, they will get knocked out quickly and he will be back with us!

"When we signed Dickson, we knew what we were getting ourselves into, we knew he could be called up for this tournament.

"It could be at a better time of year but as I say, we are not the worst hit."