Sunderland manager Roy Keane has confirmed Kieran Richardson suffered a recurrence of an old hamstring injury against Liverpool.
Richardson sat out recent games against Tottenham and Birmingham with the injury, but attempted a comeback in the weekend trip to Liverpool.
However, the former Manchester United winger lasted just seven minutes of the 3-0 defeat and is now unlikely to feature in Saturday's crunch clash with Wigan at the Stadium of Light.
Keane was happy with Richardson's training during the week and expressed his surprise that the 23-year-old failed to make it through his comeback game.
"It's the same injury that he had before," Keane told the club's official website. "He had trained well all week but match situations are different, it's disappointing."
The Black Cats are however boosted by the return of Dickson Etuhu for the visit of Wigan this weekend after Nigeria were knocked out the Africa Cup of Nations by Ghana at the weekend.