GUS POYET hopes Sunderland can profit from a healthier injury situation after managing to keep their points tally ticking over while down to the bare bones.
Ricky Alvarez and Sebastian Coates are both expected to be on the bench for Sunderland’s trip to Leicester tomorrow (kickoff 3pm) after the South Americans returned to training this week after almost two months on the sidelines.
With fears eased over the knock Steven Fletcher suffered on international duty and Emanuele Giaccherini and Billy Jones both expected to be back in training next week, left-back Patrick van Aanholt is currently the only long-term absentee on Sunderland’s books.
But despite being hampered by injuries, Sunderland managed to take four points from their last two games to move out of the Premier League’s relegation zone.
And now that his squad is beginning to get back to full strength, Poyet wants to capitalise on that before the hectic festive break inevitably takes its toll.
“I was just trying to make sure we got through those few bad weeks getting points, to make sure when everyone is fit, we make more points,” he said.
“Football is a risk. If you’re a player, your risk is to get injured.
“You need to be a good club and have a good squad to cope with those injuries.
“We’re nearly all there, apart from Patrick. That will bring competition and quality in special areas.
“It’s going to be to the benefit of the team and then it’s up to me to pick the right team.”
On-loan Liverpool centre-half Coates, together with Argentine international Alvarez have trained fully all week and will be among the substitutes tomorrow, while Jones and Giaccherini will step up their comebacks next week.
Poyet said: “Coates and Ricky trained with us all week. That’s very good news.
“They were like two young kids starting playing football for the first-team.
“They want to do everything.
“I don’t know if they’ll be able to start, but they’ll probably be on the bench. That’s a good option because we’ve been quite short, particularly at the back.
“Billy from what I’ve seen, should be with us by the middle of next week.”
Fletcher came through his return to training unscathed yesterday morning after he was rested for a few days following the ankle knock suffered in Scotland’s Euro 2016 qualifying win over Ireland last Friday which was subsequently shown to be nothing sinister.