Sunderland have confirmed that striker Fabio Borini could be sidelined for up to three months with a groin injury.
The 25-year-old former Chelsea, Parma and Liverpool forward picked up the injury in the 1-1 draw with Southampton over the weekend.
Manager David Moyes revealed that the player tore an adductor muscle, while taking a free-kick, but is hopeful the three-month prognosis is overly cautious.
He told the Sunderland Echo: "Borini, we expect to be out for three months, that is a rough guide. There is a chance it could be a bit quicker.
"We are being told it is three months though, an adductor that came off the bone."
The loss of Borini leaves Moyes with just Jermain Defoe as the club's only experienced striker, with Duncan Watmore and Joel Asoro now expected to step up.
The former Everton and Manchester United manager admitted the club tried to bring in some more cover but were unsuccessful ahead of the closure of the transfer window on Wednesday night.
He added: "We worked incredibly hard to try to get a striker in all through the window.
"We didn't get anything late on, which we thought we would do. We may have to go and look into somebody who could give us an alternative for coming off the bench or a wee bit of back-up through the season."