Simon Grayson hopes Jack Rodwell can put his injury problems behind him and kick-start his season at Sunderland.
Rodwell is training again after illness but is likely to be limited to Under-23 duty this weekend – rather than the Black Cats’ Championship trip to Barnsley tomorrow – as he gets back to match fitness.
The U23s take on Derby County at Pride Park in Premier League 2 tonight.
Grayson said: “Jack Rodwell is back training – there’s an U23 game at Derby that he might play in.
“We haven’t decided yet, just because he’s missed a lot of football. All the other ones, we’ll wait until the last minute.
“I think everybody wants to see a fit, firing Jack Rodwell who can be a valuable member of your squad.
“The injury that kept him out of the pre-season games was a dead leg which can happen. Illness can happen – he doesn’t get much luck. We’re just hopeful that we can get behind him now and he can be available for the season.”
Bryan Oviedo is likely to be fit for Sunderland’s visit to Barnsley after coming off with a tight calf against Carlisle in midweek, while Brendan Galloway remains a doubt.
The Everton loanee picked up an ankle knock against Sheffield Wednesday which continued to trouble him during last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Leeds.
Grayson will make a late call on a couple of players. He said yesterday: “There’s one or two who haven’t trained this morning with knocks – we’ll give it until tomorrow to have a look.”