Sunderland trio set for York debut

Craig Gardner
Craig Gardner
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NEW BOYS Craig Gardner, Keiren Westwood and David Vaughan will make their Sunderland bows at York City on Wednesday as the Black Cats begin their pre-season campaign.

But Sunderland’s remaining six summer signings are unlikely to be unleashed until next week’s tour of Germany after staggered arrivals at the Academy of Light.

Gardner and Westwood are the only fresh acquisitions who have participated in all of Sunderland’s pre-season regime, which got under way last Wednesday.

Vaughan and ex-Manchester United pair Wes Brown and John O’Shea only trained with their new team-mates for the first time on Friday and boss Steve Bruce will be cautious in introducing the trio at Bootham Crescent.

Bruce is likely to hand Vaughan a run-out, but is expected to wait until Sunday’s opening game in Germany against Arminia Bielefeld before fielding Brown and O’Shea.

But summer signings Seb Larsson, Connor Wickham, Ji Dong-won and Ahmed Elmohamady, who converted his loan move into a permanent deal over the summer, have no chance of featuring against the Blue Square Premier outfit.

Sweden’s Larsson and Egypt’s Elmohamady will report for duty tomorrow after the duo were involved in European Championship and African Cup of Nations qualifiers over the summer.

And strike pair Wickham and Dong-won will only meet their new team-mates for the first time on Friday’s journey to Germany.

Wickham spent last month with the England squad at the European U21 Championships, while Dong-won is due to arrive from South Korea tomorrow.

Bruce told the Echo: “The ones who’ve been here for the last week will feature at York and then we’ll give the other ones a week’s training before they feature. I’ll see about Brown and O’Shea, but we might wait until Germany before playing them.

“Larsson and Elmohamady didn’t finish until mid-June so we’ve given them some extra time off.

“Everybody will be back in the building by tomorrow morning apart from Ji Dong-won and Connor Wickham. They will come in and travel straightaway with us to Germany on Friday.

“Connor only finished two or three weeks ago with England while Dong-won arrives in the country tomorrow.”

Lee Cattermole, Titus Bramble and Michael Turner will all be handed a run-out against the Minstermen after coming through training unscathed.

The trio missed much of the second half of last season through injury and spent the summer desperately trying to be fit for the start of the new season.

Bruce is keen for the three to feature as much as possible over pre-season, particularly with Sunderland’s squad still missing the injured Craig Gordon, Fraizer Campbell and David Meyler.

“The only three who are not participating in pre-season fully at the moment are Craig, Fraizer and Meyler,” added Bruce. “Turner, Cattermole and Bramble have all been in a week early and come through that okay.

“There’s been no problem so they’re all in line to play against York on Wednesday. For Turner and Bramble in particular, they need as many games as possible over pre-season.”