Injured Sunderland pair to miss pre-season opener

Costel Pantilimon
Costel Pantilimon
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Costel Pantilimon and Jordi Gomez will miss Sunderland’s pre-season opener at Darlington 1883 as they continue their recovery from knee injuries.

Both goalkeeper Pantilimon and midfielder Gomez are not yet taking part in full training, with the pair suffering the after-effects of injuries sustained in the final throws of last season.

Gomez is going the right way, but he’s not working with us.

Dick Advocaat

Pantilimon jarred his knee during Sunderland’s penultimate game at Arsenal, which saw the Black Cats secure survival, and subsequently missed Romania’s games during the summer.

Gomez, meanwhile, suffered a fractured knee cap during a training ground collision and missed the final three games, and unlike Pantilimon is yet to take part even in light training.

And while head coach Dick Advocaat says the duo are on the mend, neither will participate in Sunderland’s first pre-season friendly against non-league Darlington at Bishop Auckland’s Heritage Park.

Advocaat said: “Gomez is going the right way, but he’s not working with us.

“He’s still working separately with the physio.

“Pantilimon is doing that too, but he’s going the right way.

“He can’t play games at the moment, but he’s training separately with the goalkeeping coach.”

John O’Shea, Steven Fletcher, Seb Larsson and Sebastian Coates won’t be involved against the Quakers either, with the quartet due back in pre-season training on Friday.

They were all given extra time off due to their international commitments during the summer, but will report back for work in time for Sunderland’s pre-season trip to North America.

There have been question marks over whether Adam Johnson - who should be involved against Darlington - will travel to the USA and Canada due to his ongoing legal problems.

But Advocaat refused to be drawn on whether Johnson would head across the Atlantic when asked about the £10million winger.

“I will make the final decision about the squad (for America) on Friday after the game,” he replied.

Advocaat is likely to name two different XI’s for each half against the Quakers.