After missing out on promotion in each of the last two campaigns, Sunderland will be hoping to finally seal their return to the Championship next month.
However, in order to secure a top-two finish in League One, the Black Cats will need to overcome their recent blip in form which has seen them lose ground on rivals Peterborough United and Hull City.
Set to face a Blackpool side who are currently on a 15-game unbeaten run this weekend, Sunderland know that a failure to produce their very best could cause further damage to their promotion bid.
Whilst the likes of Charlie Wyke and Aiden McGeady are expected to feature at Bloomfield Road, the Black Cats have seemingly suffered a major setback ahead of this particular fixture.
The 21-year-old, who joined Sunderland on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers last year, has emerged as a key figure in the heart of the club's defence during the current campaign.
GIVEMESPORT's Joshua Cole says...
This is unquestionably a major blow for Sunderland as Sanderson has played a pivotal role in their push for promotion since the turn of the year.
In the absence of fellow centre-back Bailey Wright, the former Cardiff City loanee has formed a fantastic partnership with Luke O'Nien which has allowed the Black Cats to pick up victories on a regular basis in League One.
As well as averaging a relatively impressive WhoScored match rating of 6.72, Sanderson has shown a calmness whilst in possession of the ball which has resulted in him recording a pass success rate of 81.6%.
Although Wright made his long-awaited return to action from a calf injury during Sunderland's clash with Wigan, the inability to call upon Sanderson's services will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the club in the coming weeks.News Now - Sport News