Huge Boost for Sunderland as two long-term absentees are in contention for Bristol City clash

According to interim head coach Mike Dodds, Sunderland might have Jay Matete and Timothee Pembele back in contention by the end of next week.

Jay Matete and Timothee Pembele have returned to full training and may be in contention for Sunderland’s upcoming match against Bristol City. However, Aji Alese and Dennis Cirkin, both defenders, have not yet rejoined the first-team training sessions.

Sunderland’s interim head coach, Mike Dodds, is gearing up for tomorrow’s noon game against West Bromwich Albion at the Stadium of Light. He will likely have a similar squad to choose from as he did for the previous weekend’s draw against Millwall. The sole alteration is the inclusion of Ukrainian forward Nazariy Rusyn, who was sidelined in the Lions game due to a groin problem.


Sunderland's Tony Mowbray gives update on injured quartet, including Aji Alese and Timothee Pembele - Chronicle Live


The prospect of midfielder Matete and defender Pembele nearing full fitness is encouraging. Matete has been sidelined since a surgery following a knee injury sustained during a friendly against North Carolina on Sunderland’s pre-season tour to the USA in July. Meanwhile, Pembele, who joined from Paris St-Germain in the summer, has been recovering from a long-standing knee issue and is yet to feature for the club.

“Timmy has fully resumed training this week, and Jay Matete has also been training, which are two significant positives for us,” Dodds stated. “Unfortunately, they won’t be involved in the upcoming match. It’s probably a bit premature for their return, but we’re hopeful that by the latter part of next week, they might be in contention.”

Regarding Alese, he hasn’t played since encountering a reoccurrence of a thigh injury during Sunderland’s Championship play-off semi-final second leg against Luton Town in May. Cirkin, on the other hand, had a six-week absence earlier in the season due to a hamstring injury suffered at the start of September. He made three substitute appearances in late October and early November but then aggravated the problem during the warm-up ahead of Sunderland’s home game against Birmingham City on November 11, which forced him to withdraw from that match.

Dodds clarified, “Aji and Dennis aren’t quite ready yet. They haven’t rejoined the group for training.”

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