Tony Mowbray has issued a Sunderland AFC injury update
Aji Alese and Eliezer Mayenda have stepped up their injury comebacks at Sunderland this week, though Tony Mowbray does not expect either to be in competitive action until after the upcoming international break.
Neither player has made an appearance this season, with Alese suffering a recurrence of a serious thigh injury in the second leg of the play-off semi final at Luton Town. Mayenda, meanwhile, suffered a hamstring injury in his first training session after joining the club from Sochaux.
Both players have rejoined first-team training this week in what represents a significant step forward in their recovery.
Mowbray says the club are determined not to rush them back given the length of their respective lay-offs, however, and will likely look to build them up through U21s football in the first instance.
Neither are expected to be competing for a place in the starting XI in the near future.
“They’re both not far away, but at this stage my educated guess would be that we’ll see them after the next international break,” Mowbray said.
“We’re not rushing them, we want them to get confident and get them to a point where they trust their bodies. Then we probably have to get them an U21s game, and then they’re up and running.
“They’ve been quite long injuries, so you can’t just get fit and then play. You probably need to build up in the U21s then maybe get some time off the bench in the first team. When players are doing a job in their position, there’s no rush.
“What you don’t want to do is throw a player straight in even though in your mind, you know they should have had a full week in training and then some time in the U21s. Sometimes you can get pushed into those decisions and that’s why you’ve got to be mindful and keep them all fit if you can. Then when you get these three-game weeks, you can rotate players in and out.”
Mowbray also hopes to have Dennis Cirkin back after that international break, while Pierre Ekwah and Bradley Dack could yet feature in Sunderland’s two home fixtures next week.