ENGLAND international Joleon Lescott is unlikely to be fit for Sunderland’s opening day trip to West Brom.
Lescott penned a two-year deal at the Hawthorns in the summer after leaving Manchester City at the end of his contract at the Etihad.
But the 32-year-old has been struggling with a knee injury and is a major doubt to face Sunderland in nine days time.
New Baggies boss Alan Irvine said: “Joleon Lescott is still not training.
“He is still suffering with a knee problem.
“We don’t think it is anything major but he has a bit of fluid on his knee.
“We are hopeful he will be back soon.
“He has done a bit more - but it is a tall order.”
Lescott’s central defensive partner Gareth McAuley is also expected to be ruled out through injury after only returning to training this week from a calf problem.
“I think making the first game of the season is a big ask for Gareth to be perfectly honest,” added Irvine.
“He’s missed so much pre-season that it is very difficult to throw him in.”