Gus Poyet was hoping to rest the Scotland international against Southampton at the weekend due to a slight knock, but brought the forward on in order to salvage a pointSunderland striker Steven Fletcher is doubtful for Wednesday's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg with Manchester United due to an achilles injury.
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Gus Poyet's men head into the encounter at Old Trafford with a slender 2-1 advantage from the first leg, but face the prospect of being without the Scot for the return match as they attempt to reach Wembley.
"We were trying not to play him at all (against Southampton) because he had a problem, a little injury," told the Sunderland Echo.
"We would not have involved him if we had been doing well. I asked him to take a risk for him and for his team-mates, and credit to him, he did.
"It's a tricky injury, and he could have made it worse, but he was happy in his warm-up and he gave us a very good 20 minutes."
Sunderland go in search of a first Capital One Cup - or equivalent competition - final appearance since losing 1-0 to Norwich City in the 1985 showpiece in high spirits, having lost just once in their last 10 matches in all competitions.