Adam Matthews is set to make his comeback from injury in a practice game against Sheffield United today.
The Sunderland right-back, a summer signing from Celtic, has been out for the past six weeks after damaging his ankle in Sunderland’s 6-3 Capital One Cup win over Exeter City.
But the 23-year-old was set to step up his return and feature return against the Blades in Sheffield alongside the club’s Under-21 players.
Coach Robbie Stockdale, who is overseeing training following Dick Advocaat’s resignation, is taking charge of the game.
Matthews sustained the ankle injury in the second half of the Exeter City game and has since missed the Premier League matches against Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur, AFC Bournemouth, Manchester United and West Ham United - Advocaat’s last game in charge - plus the Capital One Cup defeat to Manchester City.
In his absence Billy Jones was drafted back into the side, while American full-back DeAndre Yedlin has also featured at right-back after signing on loan from Tottenham Hotspur. Matthews put pen to paper on a four-year contract, moving from Celtic in a £2million deal.
The practice match has been arranged for during the international break to allow those remaining players some game time in between fixtures. Sunderland have several first team players away on international duty: John O’Shea, Costel Pantilimon, Seb Larsson, Ola Toivonen, Jeremain Lens, Seb Coates, Steven Fletcher and DeAndre Yedlin and from the Under-21s Charis Mavrias, Jordan Pickford and Duncan Watmore.