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With a trip to title-chasing Manchester City next up for the bottom-of-the-table Black Cats, the manager says he has just 17 fit first-team players to chose from

Gus Poyet lamented Sunderland's long list of absentees ahead of their trip to Manchester City on Wednesday.

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The Black Cats were 1-0 victors in November's reverse fixture but surrendered a one-goal advantage to lose the Capital One Cup final to Manuel Pellegrini's side in March.

And with his side bottom of the Premier League and seven points from safety, Poyet revealed that he only has 17 fit first-team players to choose from.

"Injuries come through contact and that is football," he told the Sunderland Echo. "But other ones come when there is tension and nerves. They all come with tiredness and especially the mental side of things.

"We have gone from having a full squad - with the exception of Westie [Keiren Westwood] for the [Capital One Cup] final last month - to now having seven or eight players missing.

"That's normal. It's nothing against the players, it's the tension, the nerves and the pressure.

"[Steven] Fletcher and Westie are out injured, and Liam [Bridcutt] is out for personal reasons, while Phil [Bardsley] is suspended. But we also have three or four other injuries, and one ill.

"They have all come together so, for the first time in my time here, we cannot make 18 for the game. That's not the best timing!"

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