Dick Advocaat expects his squad to be near full-strength for next week’s friendly at Doncaster after Sunderland concluded their North American pre-season tour with a win.
Jermain Defoe’s second half double at his former club Toronto saw Sunderland triumph 2-1 here in Canada this morning, with the Black Cats squad heading back to the North East later today.
Lens will definitely play against Doncaster. He’s further along than the othersDICK ADVOCAAT
New signings Jeremain Lens, Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Coates were all absent, with Advocaat opting not to risk them after they only began their pre-season training with Sunderland over the weekend.
But Lens and Kaboul are already pencilled in to appear against Doncaster next Wednesday, for Sunderland’s penultimate pre-season encounter.
Advocaat said: “Lens will definitely play against Doncaster. He’s further along than the others.
“Coates has only done a week after playing for Uruguay (during the summer).
“It makes no sense to get injuries.
“But Kaboul could play as well against Doncaster.
“Next week we’ll know a little bit more about things.
“We have to bring them in. It was too much of a risk to do that today, so probably next week with two weeks to go.”
Sunderland continue to look for further additions in the transfer market too, although when asked about incomings, Advocaat simply reiterated that he’s still looking for a couple more.
“We still hope to sign one or two players definitely to make everything a little bit easier,” he said.
Certainly, Sunderland continue to lack a spark in the final third after they were too often stodgy in the final third against the MLS outfit.
Advocaat admitted he wasn’t pleased with the performance, although he offered the mitigation that Sunderland have faced a draining 12-day spell in North America.
“No, I was not satisfied, but you have to understand that we are at the end of a 12-day training schedule with two sessions a day,” he added.
“The players are tired and you can see it in the way they play. The sharpness is not there.
“Hopefully we can get the sharpness back after a few days rest.
“It was a good exercise. Toronto did really well.
“But for us, it’s good that we won 2-1.
“We were a little bit down afterwards, but at the end, we have to be pleased with our 12 days.”