Cape Town - Everton number one, Tim Howard, says he sympathises with Antolin Alcaraz but insists the Everton dressing room will help the Paraguayan defender return from injury stronger than ever.
Alcaraz sustained a shoulder problem in Saturday's 0-0 draw against Swansea City following an aerial challenge with Wilfried Bony.
But his American goalkeeper believes the Blues' squad is strong enough to cope with the latest in an unfortunate series of fitness blows this season.
“It’s bad luck,” said Howard on the club's website.
“Anto's done brilliantly to come in and be prepared, always playing well. It's tough on the squad, but since the manager's been here, we've not been a team to look back worried on injuries.
“We just get on with it, try to get those people back healthy and encourage them, using the guys ready for the opportunity. We're devastated for Anto but we'll get through it.”
Howard also praised Alcaraz’s replacement, Gareth Barry, who completed 58 minutes in an unfamiliar centre-back role against the Swans.
“That's what you get with a top-quality player,” he continued.
“The ability to play different positions – clearly it's not his preferred position, but the fact he can go in there and be astute enough to read the game, while being strong enough to deal with Bony and Bafetimbi Gomis - he was superb.
“Every bone in his body is a number six, so I was having to make sure we reeled him in and kept him in position. He reads the game well so we were happy.”
Sunderland face Everton at the Stadium of Light on Sunday at 15:30.