Sunderland defender not expected to be fit for the Tyne-Wear derby

Emmanuel Eboue
Emmanuel Eboue
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Emmanuel Eboue remains in light training, as the right-back makes his way back from a slight injury setback.

But Eboue and long-term casualty Duncan Watmore are the only injury headaches facing Sam Allardyce, ahead of Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby.

Ex-Arsenal defender Eboue penned a short-term contract at Sunderland earlier this month after impressing boss Allardyce on trial, yet the 32-year-old suffered a knock last week which kept him out of the Under-21s’ win over Everton, plus Friday’s behind-closed-doors friendly against Livingston.

Eboue is on the comeback trail, with the former Ivory Coast international able to do strength and conditioning work with the club’s medical staff, but he still hasn’t resumed training with the rest of the team-mates.

However, Eboue is yet to make a competitive appearance for Sunderland and his absence won’t affect Allardyce’s plans for this weekend’s crucial clash against relegation rivals Newcastle United, with the Black Cats squad almost at full strength.

Lee Cattermole has recovered from the head injury which kept him sidelined for Sunderland’s last outing at Southampton 10 days ago.

And after a month on the treatment table due to a hernia operation, Jeremain Lens is in contention to return to the squad at St James’s Park.

Lens featured as a half-time substitute in Friday’s 3-0 win over Livingston and could earn a place on the bench.

Allardyce also faces a selection choice between centre-halves Younes Kaboul and John O’Shea after the latter has returned to full fitness.