SUNDERLAND’S list of injury absentees will have lightened significantly after the fortnight’s international break.
The Black Cats will be without SIX members of the first-team squad for tomorrow’s visit of Everton with the suspended Lee Cattermole joining the crocked quintet of Patrick van Aanholt, Emanuele Giaccherini, Ricky Alvarez, Sebastian Coates and Billy Jones in the Stadium of Light stands.
Left-back Van Aanholt could be sidelined for a couple of months with the shoulder injury he suffered at Crystal Palace on Monday night, if he requires an operation.
But there is better news on the rest, with Coates and Alvarez expected to be in contention when Sunderland return to Premier League action at Leicester after the break, and Jones and Giaccherini not far behind.
Poyet told the Echo: “I am 100 per cent sure Alvarez and Coates will be training the week before the Leicester game.
“And Billy and Giacchy, if not that week then the week after.
“That’s great news for us and it’s why, for me, this game (tomorrow) is so important.
“We need to get a result from this game and that will give us a massive lift because after that things will get better as players come back.”
Jack Rodwell will be back in the squad tomorrow after returning to training yesterday, following a minor calf strain which kept him out at Palace.
Poyet will decide between the £10million summer signing and Liam Bridcutt to fill the void left by Cattermole against Rodwell’s former club Everton.
But the injuries have had a major impact on Sunderland’s small squad, with at least one member of the Under-21 squad taking a place on the bench tomorrow.
“I don’t know if it is bad luck or what,” said Poyet.
“Last season it was completely the opposite – I was training with 20-plus players every week.
“Now we have so many injuries and every one is different.
“We have one thigh (Coates), one bone (Giaccherini), one knee cartilage (Alvarez), one hamstring (Jones), one shoulder (van Aanholt)...
“But we need to cope with it because that’s football.
“Imagine how much more difficult it is for the teams who are in Europa League and the squads that they need!”
Sunderland were due to discover last night whether van Aanholt required surgery or not – a scenario which would add several weeks to the Dutch international’s spell on the sidelines.
“I don’t know exactly how long he will be out, but it could be a couple of months,” added Poyet.
“We are trying to avoid that of course, but we will have to see.”