EMANUELE GIACCHERINI will return to the fold after next month’s first international break of the season.
Giaccherini was ruled out of last weekend’s Premier League opener against West Brom after suffering a groin strain in Sunderland’s penultimate pre-season friendly against Real Betis almost a fortnight ago.
The Italian international is due to return to full training at the end of next week, although Sunderland boss Gus Poyet will resist the temptation to call on the 29-year-old for the trip to QPR, in the final game before the international break.
But Poyet is confident Giaccherini will be available again when Sunderland return to action after the fortnight’s pause in domestic action, with the Black Cats boss impressed by the signs from the ex-Juventus man during the friendly programme.
Poyet told the Echo: “Giaccy was outstanding in pre-season.
“Those kind of injuries are three weeks and we’re almost two weeks into it.
“He will be very close for QPR, but I don’t want to risk it.
“I know people say there is no good time to get injured, but you definitely don’t want it to happen in pre-season.
“After you’ve done all that running, it’s really unlucky to get injured just before the season starts.
“But we’ll be looking after the international break, for sure.”
Despite his fitness issues, Giaccherini will harbour hopes of a recall to the Italy squad for the friendly against Holland and Euro 2016 qualifier with Norway next month after being left out of the World Cup.
New Italy boss Antonio Conte signed Giaccherini for Juventus in 2011 and reluctantly allowed the midfielder to join Sunderland in a £6.5million move last summer.
Meanwhile, Giaccherini’s Sunderland team-mate Billy Jones - who also missed the opening day clash through injury - has returned to full training.
Bosman signing Jones was suffering with a tight hamstring during the final three weeks of pre-season after being hampered by a series of niggling injury problems at West Brom last season.
But Jones is now back in training and could be in contention for Sunday’s visit of Manchester United after Poyet was forced to use Wes Brown at right-back at the Hawthorns, with Santiago Vergini also unavailable.
Poyet added: “He’s training with us this week. The West Brom game came too soon and we couldn’t risk him,
“We were looking forward to seeing more of him in pre-season and now we want to see him 100 per cent fit.”