Victor Anichebe will not feature against former club Everton on Monday night – but Jan Kirchhoff and club record signing Didier Ndong could be involved.
The 28-year-old striker signed a deal at Sunderland until the end of the season but he isn’t yet match fit.
Ahead of Monday’s clash with Everton, manager David Moyes has hailed Anichebe’s work ethic – with the former West Bromwich Albion forward putting in extra hours to get back playing quickly.
But Kirchhoff – who came through his first 90 minutes of the season for the Under-23s in the midweek Checkatrade Trophy clash with Rochdale – could play a part against Everton.
And Ndong – who only arrived at the Academy of Light for the first time last night after international duty – will be assessed and could be among the subs.
It was initially thought ex-Lorient midfielder Ndong would be suspended for the Everton game in order to complete a suspension carried over from France.
With Sunderland scouts watching on, Ndong was sent off 30 minutes into the game against Bastia – but the £13.6million signing IS available for selection.
When asked if Ndong and Kirchhoff could be on the bench, Moyes said: “Yeah, there is a good chance they will be included.
“I need to see Ndong to see where he is at, but we still have a couple of days.
“Kirchhoff could be a consideration.
“His training has been quite good and he is looking more mobile.
“I saw things in the Rochdale game, where I knew he still has a bit to go to get up to match speed. I want to see his next level.”
Regarding Ndong’s availability, Moyes added: “I am told there is no suspension, it is clear.
“I hope that is right and we can have him available.
“This game might just come too soon, but obviously we will assess him.”
The game will definitely come too soon for 6ft 3in frontman Anichebe.
“He is not going to be involved just now,” Moyes told the Echo.
“He is not a million miles off. I will see how things go.
“I could include him in an Under-23 game next week, but I might keep him back a bit longer. He is not in bad condition, but he is a big unit and he needs a bit of oiling.
“He has trained a lot and he has joined in and I have to say his work has been terrific.
“He has been in every afternoon working on his general fitness to get him ready.We are going to need him.
“The following week, we have three games in six days. We need to be careful with Jermain Defoe and we have to have Jermain for the games that really matter.”
Manchester City loanee Jason Denayer also played the full game for the Under-23s against Rochdale but he won’t be rushed into first-team action.
Moyes added: “Jason has played two 45 minutes in pre-season. The game against Rochdale was his first 90 minutes. He is another one I want to give a little bit of breathing space.
“Ideally, it would have been the same with Donald Love and Paddy McNair, ease them in but with the numbers and injuries we had no choice but to throw them in.”
Lee Cattermole, who had surgery on a double hernia at the start of the season, is back in training.
Seb Larsson (knee), Fabio Borini (thigh) and Vito Mannone (elbow ligaments) remain out long-term.
Everton midfielders Darron Gibson and Tom Cleverley should be available again for Monday’s visit to Sunderland after recent knocks.