New signing Jan Kirchhoff will travel with the Sunderland squad to Swansea, but may have to wait until Saturday’s clash at Spurs to make his Black Cats bow.
Kirchhoff’s international clearance has now been processed from his £750,000 switch from Bayern Munich, with the centre-half eligible to feature in a red and white shirt.
But the German remains short on fitness after only two training sessions with Bayern, following the Bundesliga side’s return from their winter break.
Sunderland’s coaching team have been working with Kirchhoff to fast-track his fitness levels and he will be among the party heading to south Wales today for the Black Cats’ relegation clash against fourth bottom Swansea.
Yet Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce is being cautious over Kirchhoff’s involvement, with Saturday lunchtime’s trip to White Hart Lane a more likely opportunity for the 25-year-old to be included in the matchday squad.
Allardyce said: “I don’t know whether Jan will feature yet.
“He’s got to get used to the players he’s playing with and he’s got to get his fitness up that little bit more from joining in with the lads.
“I don’t think he’ll be involved at Swansea, Tottenham is probably the earliest.
“But he’s going to start travelling with the lads to get used to them.
“We’ll use him at the appropriate time when we think he’s ready.”
Kirchhoff’s game-time with Bayern this season totalled one brief substitute’s outing after injuries limited his involvement during a loan spell with Schalke last year.
“I may need some time to get fit,” he said last week.
“But I’ll try to get on the pitch as fast as I can to help the team.”