SPORT

Sunderland Striker Steven Fletcher Out For The Season

27/03/2013 14:53 GMT | Updated 27/03/2013 15:19 GMT

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher has been ruled out for the rest of the season in what is a mammoth blow to the club's bid to avoid relegation.

Fletcher sustained ankle ligament damage whilst on international duty with Scotland during their 2-1 defeat to Wales on Friday, and the Black Cats say it is unclear whether his ankle will be operated on.

steven fletcher

Fletcher reels from his injury at Hampden Park

A Sunderland statement said: "It is not known at this stage if Fletcher will require an operation, with the injury requiring further assessment in the coming weeks."

The Scot is Sunderland's top scorer and has contributed a third of their 33 league goals. Sunderland are the fourth-lowest scorers in the top flight.

The Mackems lie 15th in the Premier League table, just four points above the relegation zone. Wigan, occupying 18th, also have a game in hand.

Dauntingly, Sunderland's next four games are against Manchester United, Chelsea, Newcastle United and Everton.

Lee Cattermole will also not play again this campaign after he underwent an operation on his knee earlier on Wednesday.

Cattermole has featured just 14 times this season in an injury-plagued term.