MARTIN O’Neill will leave until the last minute the decision on whether Stephane Sessegnon is involved against Arsenal tomorrow.
Sunderland’s star man has been plagued by an ankle injury which has prevented him playing any part in pre-season and the Benin International is still struggling.
O’Neill (pictured) told the Echo today: “Stephane has done a little bit of training with us this week which is good news but he was still feeling his ankle yesterday so we will really just have to see how that goes.
“He’s become a very important player for us so if it’s at all possible to have him safely involved tomorrow then we will do so.”
Apart from Sessegnon, Sunderland also have injury problems with David Vaughan, Wes Brown, Connor Wickham and Phill Bardsley, none of whom will play tomorrow.
Nevertheless, O’Neill is looking forward to tomorrow’s game, hoping to put an indifferent pre-season behind the club.
He said: “Training has been good this week and we will look to do a few things better than we have done so far in pre-season.
“It’s going to be a difficult game but playing Arsenal is always a difficult game.
“I don’t think the departure of Robin van Persie puts any more pressure on Arsenal but that’s not my concern anyway, there is enough pressure on us without worrying about the position.
“I am just keen to get on with it now and look to start getting points on the board.”
Sunderland include new signings Carlos Cuellar and Louis Saha in the squad, with O’Neill convinced there will be more new arrivals before the transfer deadline.
He said “I’m glad to get in a couple of players who I think will be very good for the squad.
“But, of course, we are looking to bring in more and there’s still 10 or 11 days for the transfer window to go.
“And I am pretty sure that we will have more new players in by then to improve the balance and the strength of the squad.”
H Easington-born winger Adam Johnson is uncertain he will be given the regular football he craves at Manchester City and which would bolster his chances of being a key part of the England squad.
Johnson played the full 90 minutes of Wednesday night’s friendly win over Italy.
Johnson said: “It was brilliant to get 90 minutes for England. I really enjoyed it and hopefully I can play a few more games.
“I need to play week in, week out. You can’t just go into one game after not having played for five and be expected to perform. It would be nice to get a run of games with England but I’m not sure if I’ll get that chance at City. Time will tell.”
H Scott Sinclair could be set to follow Joe Allen out of Swansea after telling manager Michael Laudrup he does not want to sign a new contract at the Liberty Stadium.
H QPR are eyeing up a move for former Chelsea right-back Jose Bosingwa.
, who was freed at the end of last season.