Defoe in doubt as Sunderland gear up for trip to Leicester

David Moyes insists a win against Leicester City will keep Sunderland in pursuit of another Great Escape.

That means that captain Wes Morgan will remain out with his back injury along with midfielder Nampalys Mendy, who is still nursing a knee problem.

The Black Cats have kept just one clean sheet in their last 16 Premier League away games.

"But we just lacked that bit of quality that would have made the difference between losing 1-0 and winning 1-0".

The major concern though for the Black Cats ahead of the trip to the King Power Stadium is the fitness of leading scorer Jermain Defoe, who missed training on Sunday.

He said: "We have shown them stuff".

Instead the same team strolled out after the break and conceded a poor goal - and it was only then that the Sunderland gaffer decided to make a change, once we had gone behind.

The Teessider, a passionate part of the club's recent fights to beat the drop, has played a friendly behind-closed-doors during the worldwide break and is close to making an appearance in the Premier League.

If it hadn't been for that one set-piece at Watford, we'd have been right in the game to the end and maybe it would have been Watford who were getting more anxious as time went on.

Sunderland defeated Watford at the Stadium of Light 1-0 in December. Four of those matches are against teams in the current bottom six.

With Sunderland in a relegation battle, Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare says their sole focus is to stifle Jermain Defoe.

Jamie Vardy's goal scoring confidence seems to be back.

He said: "Your football enthusiasm is always there, I love the training, I love the games, but what you love more than anything is winning games". They've led at the break in 10 of their last 11 Premier League victories and odds-against on a W/W looks big here. However, Moyes was still pleased with his side's overall effort.

They have failed to score in 14 matches this season, a joint league high with Middlesbrough.

"They deserved win to against Burnley (when they drew 0-0) and some weeks ago they beat (Crystal) Palace 4-0".

Sunderland are without a win in five games and look to be sliding inexorably towards relegation, but Shakespeare urged his team not to take their opponents lightly, especially with a striker of the calibre of Jermain Defoe in the side.

  • Julie Sanders