Sunderland confirms injury blow ahead of stoke city clash as fantastic player is now ruled out

Dan Ballard did not play for Northern Ireland last night in preparation for Sunderland’s match against Stoke City on Saturday.

Sunderland defender Dan Ballard was left out of Northern Ireland’s 1-0 loss to Slovenia at home on Tuesday evening.

Jonny Evans, a former Black Cats loanee, handed Ballard the captain’s armband for Northern Ireland during their 3-0 win over San Marino on Saturday evening.

Evans, 35, and Ballard, 24, began together in center defense during Northern Ireland’s match against San Marino, with Evans earning his 104th cap and Ballard earning his 15th.


BBC Radio Newcastle - Total Sport - North East, 16/03/2023, Dan Ballard  reacts to Sunderland loss against Sheffield United


Sunderland’s Ballard played the full 90-minute match, alongside Trai Hume and former Wearsider Paddy McNair, who now plays for Middlesbrough.

Northern Ireland coach O’Neill, on the other hand, revealed that Ballard awakened with a tightness in his thigh, which is being watched by their medical team, but forced the defender to miss the following game against Slovenia in Group H of the Euro 2024 qualifying group.

“He [Ballard] woke up with a tightness in his thigh, which we have just had to manage over the last 48 hours,” O’Neill said prior of the encounter.

“It’s not like he was playing through something because we could have taken him off at any time, but he didn’t alert us to anything.” It’s just something that happened after the game.”

“I think we have enough cover in our group,” he continued. We have Eoin Toal, Trai Hume has played center-half for his club, and Shea Charles has also played center-back.

“I believe we have enough players in the squad without calling anyone up.” If Daniel is unable to play, I believe we will attempt to add someone from the Under-21 team.”

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