Jordi Gomez will miss Sunderland’s start to the season, with the midfielder still on the road to recovery from injury.
Gomez sustained a small fracture to his knee-cap in a training ground collision at the end of last season, which kept him out of the final four games of the campaign.
Gomez will not be ready for the start of the seasonDick Advocaat
The Spaniard was confined to light training during Sunderland’s pre-season trip to North America and is yet to join in the sessions with the rest of the Black Cats squad.
With the Premier League campaign beginning two weeks today, there is no chance of Gomez being ready for Sunderland’s opening game at Leicester.
However, head coach Dick Advocaat still sees Gomez as an important part of his squad, even if he will have to wait to call upon the former Wigan man.
Advocaat said: “No, Gomez will not be ready for the start of the season.
“It will come too soon for him with the training.
“But he will be an option when he is fit. He has qualities which we can use.”
Gomez arguably played the best football of his Sunderland career following Advocaat’s arrival at the Stadium of Light after proving to be inconsistent under predecessor Dick Advocaat.
The 30-year-old is expected to be the only absentee against Leicester, with goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon now fully fit after he had missed the start of the pre-season campaign with a knee problem.
There were several knocks among Advocaat’s squad at the end of Sunderland’s time in North America, with Connor Wickham and Danny Graham both sitting out Wednesday’s friendly against Toronto.
The pair had missed training in the build-up the clash against the MLS outfit and were left out as a precaution.
But Advocaat expects to have virtually a full squad to pick from for next week’s penultimate friendly against League One Doncaster.
Summer signings Jeremain Lens and Younes Kaboul are both pencilled in to feature at the Keepmoat Stadium, with the only real question mark over whether fellow new boy Sebastian Coates makes his pre-season bow.
Coates was given extra time off after his involvement for Uruguay at the Copa America.
He only began his pre-season in earnest when he joined Sunderland in Toronto.