Sunderland will leave it until the last minute for skipper John O’Shea to prove his fitness for tomorrow’s relegation clash at Swansea.
O’Shea is Sunderland’s only injury doubt for the crunch encounter against fourth bottom Swansea after he was withdrawn during the second half of last weekend’s FA Cup third round defeat at Arsenal due to a sore calf - the same injury he sustained over the festive period.
The 34-year-old will travel with the rest of the Sunderland squad to south Wales today, with Sam Allardyce’s men heading straight to London after tomorrow night’s clash, to minimise travelling time for Saturday’s game at title-chasing Spurs.
And Sunderland boss Allardyce will not make a decision on O’Shea’s participation against the Swans until tomorrow, with Wes Brown and Sebastian Coates earmarked for central defensive roles if the Republic of Ireland international misses out.
Allardyce said: “We’ll wait until tomorrow morning, or he may even say he’s right today.
“If that happens, then he can join in training.
“But if he’s not quite right, we’ll wait until tomorrow to make a decision.”
Jack Rodwell could be back in the squad at the Liberty Stadium after the £10million man has returned to training following his latest lay-off with a hamstring injury.
But fellow midfielder Seb Larsson has suffered a setback in his own recovery from knee ligament damage.
Larsson had originally been expected to be out for around five weeks after suffering the injury last month, yet despite resuming running, the Swedish international is still not in contention for a comeback.
Allardyce added: “Seb is a bit behind in his recovery. It’s longer than we expected.
“Jack Rodwell’s made some good progress and is back in training again.
“Younes (Kaboul) is obviously the long-term one, who is still out.
“But compared to other clubs, we’re pretty good on injuries at this moment of time.”