Jan Kirchhoff missed Sunderland’s opening pre-season friendly outing against Hartlepool United as a precaution.
The thinness of Sunderland’s squad was highlighted at Victoria Park last night, with trialist Charles N’Zogbia the only player over the age of 22 on the bench.
With Sunderland yet to make a summer signing, Seb Larsson and John O’Shea given extra time off after their involvement at the Euro’s, and unwanted quintet Adam Matthews, Liam Bridcutt, Will Buckley, Jordi Gomez and Charis Mavrias limited to the Under-21s, Sam Allardyce’s successor will have scant options to work with.
January signing Kirchhoff was also a notable absentee last night, but it is understood that the German was merely rested after a gruelling pre-season training camp in Austria.
Kirchhoff had a history of injury problems at former club Bayern Munich, and has hamstring lay-offs already during his time at Sunderland.
But he could be available for Saturday’s trip to Rotherham, as Sunderland face their only other domestic friendly.
N’Zogbia, meanwhile, did little to suggest he could be offered a contract by Sunderland after his release by relegated Aston Villa during the summer.
The ex-Newcastle winger took the captain’s armband for the second half alongside an entirely changed XI, but produced barely any flashes of quality alongside his youthful team-mates.