Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher in contention to face Leicester after returning to training

Sunderland's Steven Fletcher.
Sunderland's Steven Fletcher.
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Steven Fletcher has returned to training ahead of Sunderland’s opening day clash at Leicester City this weekend.

Fletcher missed Sunderland’s final pre-season friendly at Hannover 96 last Saturday with a knock, but the Scottish international is back in contention for tomorrow’s trip to Leicester City.

The striker has been able to play a part in full training this week, with head coach Dick Advocaat now facing a decision over whether to partner him with Jermain Defoe, or use just one of the duo.

However, centre-half Wes Brown remains a doubt for the opening weekend of the campaign after missing Sunderland’s final two friendlies with a knock.

Brown would have been a surprise starter anyway to face the Foxes, with Advocaat’s main selection dilemma revolving around whether Younes Kaboul or John O’Shea partner Sebastian Coates in central defence.

The arrival of new signing Yann M’Vila has also given Advocaat something to think about after the French international has had a couple of training sessions with his new team-mates.

Fitness should not be an issue for M’Vila after he been training - and playing - for Dynamo Moscow in a trial spell during pre-season.

M’Vila will take the 21 shirt in Sunderland’s new squad numbers, while fellow signings Lens, Kaboul and Adam Matthews will wear 17, 15 and 12 respectively.

The number 9 and 10 spots remain vacant after Connor Wickham’s move to Crystal Palace and Fletcher’s decision to switch to 26.

But neither Valentin Roberge nor Charis Mavrias have been given squad numbers, with the pair both considered surplus to requirements and up for sale this summer.

Sunderland squad numbers: 1 Pantilimon, 2 Jones, 3 van Aanholt, 4 Bridcutt, 5 Brown, 6 Cattermole, 7 Larsson, 8 Rodwell, 11 Johnson, 12 Matthews, 13 Pickford, 14 Gomez, 15 Kaboul, 16 O’Shea, 17 Lens, 18 Defoe, 19 Graham, 21 M’Vila, 22 Coates, 23 Giaccherini, 25 Mannone, 26 Fletcher, 30 Buckley, 31 Beadling, 32 Stryjek, 34 T Robson, 37 Greenwood, 38 Mandron, 39 Honeyman, 40 Smith, 41 Watmore, 42 Agnew, 46 Gooch.