SEBASTIAN Coates’ return from injury will add some much-needed cover to Sunderland’s defensive ranks, believes Gus Poyet.
On-loan Liverpool centre-half Coates returned from two months on the sidelines with a thigh injury to take his place among the substitutes for Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Leicester City.
With Billy Jones and Patrick van Aanholt also on the sidelines, Poyet had just four defenders available for the clash against Everton prior to the international break, with Under-21s left-back Tom Robson drafted into the squad.
But while Poyet admits that fellow Uruguayan Coates is still short on match sharpness, the head coach is relieved to have some competition for places at the back again.
Poyet said: “Sebber was needed. He’s trained for a long time and physically he’s ready.
“Match fitness is an issue though, so we’ll see how we work this week.”
There was no place on the bench for Coates’ fellow South American Ricky Alvarez, despite the on-loan Inter Milan midfielder returning to training last week.
But there was nothing sinister behind Alvarez’s absence, with Poyet admitting that the Argentine international had simply been worked too hard on the training ground during his recovery.
“We pushed him a little bit too much so kept him calm over the weekend,” he said.
“He starts training again today.”
Lee Cattermole returned from suspension in the only change to Poyet’s starting line-up on Saturday, with the Teessider preferred to Liam Bridcutt as the holding midfielder.
Cattermole was involved in a contentious incident on the hour mark when he made a strong challenge on Foxes midfielder Esteban Cambiasso, but was only booked, despite calls from the home crowd for the 26-year-old to be dismissed.
But Poyet gave short shrift to the discussion over the challenge.
He added: “Ten years ago, his tackle would have been highlighted as one of the best in England. We are going soft.
“These people that never play football and don’t have a clue are trying to make it a non-contact sport. This is football. It was a proper English tackle.”
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