NACHO Scocco is likely to start tomorrow’s Wear-Tyne derby on the bench, if he is given the all-clear to face Newcastle United.
Scocco completed his move to the Stadium of Light yesterday after penning a two-and-a-half year deal with Sunderland for an undisclosed fee – thought to be around the £4million mark.
Sunderland are still waiting on the Argentine forward’s international clearance to come through so they can register him ahead of today’s noon deadline for the 28-year-old to feature against the Magpies.
But if Scocco is given the go-ahead, he is only likely to be among the substitutes, with Black Cats boss Gus Poyet unsure of whether the arrival from Brazilian club Internacional is sufficiently match-fit to be thrown straight into the starting XI.
Poyet told the Echo: “It’s difficult to know whether he will be fit enough to play right away.
“It depends on the game.
“At the beginning, he might be on the bench and then we will see if we need him on the day.
“But I suppose the derby would be a great game for him to make his debut – even if it is just for the last few minutes.”
Poyet has earmarked Scocco to inject some much-needed goal-threat into Sunderland’s play, with only Norwich, Crystal Palace and Cardiff netting fewer than the Black Cats in the Premier League this season.
“Scocco is a player who can make the difference in the final third,” added Poyet.
“He has the ability to open up a game on his own, to conjure up a goal from nowhere, and he can give you that extra quality in a pass or a free-kick.
“If he really adapts and links well with the players we have got here, he can make a big difference for us.
“I am desperate for that to happen, because if it does it will be a great opportunity for him and for us.”
Scocco had endured an unhappy six-month spell with Internacional after netting 30 times in 46 games in his homeland for Newell’s Old Boys last season.
But, after watching Sunderland’s victory over Stoke City from the stands on Wednesday night, Scocco is excited at the prospect of beginning his Black Cats career under Poyet.
“This is one the best leagues in the world and I think Gus Poyet’s idea of football and his project are very interesting,” Scocco told the Argentine media.
“Everybody here at Sunderland welcomed me very nicely. I had my first training session yesterday.
“I watched Sunderland against Stoke on Wednesday and I liked what I saw, especially in the first half. I’ll have to prove my worth.”
* Don’t miss tomorrow’s derby special Football Echo – it’s online from around 7pm with the biggest and best coverage of the big day