NACHO SCOCCO will make his Sunderland debut tomorrow – after being put through his own mini pre-season at the Academy of Light.
January signing Scocco is yet to appear for the Black Cats after being an unused substitute in the Tyne-Wear derby and then failing to even be included on the bench for last weekend’s defeat to Hull City.
The 28-year-old had only just started his pre-season in South America when Sunderland ended his unhappy six-month spell at Brazilian side Internacional and was short on fitness when he began training on Wearside after completing his £4million move.
But Scocco’s conditioning has begun to improve after one-on-one training sessions with Sunderland fitness coach Antonio Pintas and Poyet sees tomorrow’s FA Cup fifth round clash against Southampton as the ideal opportunity for the Argentine international to begin his Black Cats career.
Poyet told the Echo: “We’re working on his fitness. He did the aerobic part of pre-season, which means all the power, speed and agility to go past people wasn’t there yet.
“Mr Antonio Pintas is killing him. He probably hates him already!
“But he looked much better earlier this week. You can see the improvement in his movement and his agility.
“It’s a mix of power, speed and that sharpness.
“He needs football too because he hasn’t played for a while.
“We will use him tomorrow for sure.”
Poyet confirmed after Wednesday night’s called-off clash against Manchester City that he still planned to make a number of changes for this weekend’s encounter, to give some of his fringe players minutes on the pitch.
The likes of Emanuele Giaccherini, Craig Gardner, Seb Larsson, Oscar Ustari, Ondrej Celustka and Connor Wickham could all be handed an opportunity to impress, with the visitors also expected to make changes.