Strugging Premier League outfit Sunderland have been hit by the news that midfielder Claudio Reyna has ruptured his cruciate ligament and will be out for the rest of the season.

Reyna was carried off in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Bolton after he fell awkwardly and scans have confirmed that Reyna will need to undergo an operation and will not be available to play for at least six months.

“It’s always a big blow to lose good players but unfortunately that’s life,” said recently-appointed Sunderland boss Howard Wilkinson.

“Claudio’s problem is someone else’s opportunity. His credentials are there for all to see but for the immediate and mid-term future he will not be available, and that’s a blow.”

Sunderland, who recently sacked manager Peter Reid after a disappointing start to the season, lie in the relegation zone and are already missing Thomas Sorenson, Thomas Myhre and Jason McAteer through injury.