David Moyes looking to boost Sunderland striker’s match fitness

Victor Anichebe wins the ball against Stoke. Picture by FRANK REID

Victor Anichebe wins the ball against Stoke. Picture by FRANK REID

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David Moyes is looking to hand Victor Anichebe a start for Sunderland’s second string in a bid to boost his match fitness.

The 28-year-old striker is yet to start a game for the first team after arriving on a free this summer.

Ideally, I’d have probably tried to get him a reserve game first, but I couldn’t do that

DAVID MOYES

But Anichebe, who came on as a sub in the 2-0 defeat to Stoke City, could start for Sunderland Under-23s tonight against Derby County at the Stadium of Light (7pm kick-off).

The former Everton and West Bromwich Albion striker hasn’t been ready to start a Premier League game after missing pre-season after his release by the Baggies.

With the Sunderland boss currently without nine first-team players through injury, Moyes says he needs as many senior figures as he can call on.

He returned to full training during the recent international break after a groin problem.

Moyes said: “Victor was in the squad at Stoke and got a few minutes near the end.

“I don’t think he’s ready to start.

“Ideally, I’d have probably tried to get him a reserve game first, but I couldn’t do that.

“I needed him at Stoke because he was a senior player and we didn’t have many of those available.”

Speaking recently, Anichebe said: “I feel really good now, it is just about getting games and power into me and hopefully with a combination of first-team training games and reserve games, which I am happy to play to get back quicker, I will be fit and ready to help.”

Andy Welsh’s side resume their Premier League 2 campaign tonight and they are chasing their first victory in three games.

Opponents Derby are looking to extend their unbeaten run to three games following wins over Reading and PSV Eindhoven.

Entry to the game is free for SAFC season card holders on production of their valid 2016-17 season card.

Entry for non-season card holders is priced at £3 for adults and £1 for over 65s and under 16s.