STEPHANE Sessegnon’s return from Ethiopia has taken longer than expected, casting doubts over his freshness for Sunday’s game against Newcastle.
The Benin international had been representing his country on Wednesday and was expected to be back by Friday morning, but had yet to return.
Martin O’Neill quipped: “Stephane, at this minute, has been caught between a couple of flights, so he is going to be delayed somewhat. But there has been no report of injury, which is good news.
“We always knew it was going to be difficult for him to get back and it’s a fair distance away, but from that viewpoint, he’s okay.”
O’Neill will run the rule over the frontman ahead of the derby game, but one player definitely out is Keiren Westwood.
The goalkeeper has been struggling all week with a wrist problem and his place on the bench is expected to be taken by Craig Gordon.
Gordon’s Sunderland and Scotland team-mate Phil Bardsley has been struggling with a calf strain all week, but is more likely, rather than less likely, to play this weekend.