Sunderland midfielder Ola Toivonen a doubt for West Brom trip

Ola Toivonen
Ola Toivonen
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Ola Toivonen is a major injury doubt for Sam Allardyce’s opening game in charge of Sunderland at West Brom this weekend.

Summer signing Toivonen sustained a groin problem after coming off the bench to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic during Sweden’s Euro 2016 qualifying win over Moldova on Monday night.

Toivonen – who has started each of Sunderland’s last five games – is now back on Wearside receiving treatment to the injury.

But the on-loan Rennes midfielder is Allardyce’s main headache as he prepares to get his Sunderland tenure underway away to fourth-bottom West Brom on Saturday.

Allardyce said: “We’ve had a couple of shouts on Toivonen.

“He’s had a little bit of a groin problem and indicated that to our doctor and physio.

“He said he felt his groin after the game on Monday night.

“We’re having a look at him and seeing what he’s like.”

Should Toivonen miss out at the Hawthorns, then it could spell a recall for last season’s Player of the Year Seb Larsson, who was confined to a substitute’s role in the Premier League under Dick Advocaat since August’s defeat against Norwich.

Allardyce will be forced to make at least two changes for his Black Cats debut regardless, with Sebastian Coates and Jeremain Lens both missing this weekend as they serve one-match bans.

But there is better injury news regarding French pair Yann M’Vila and Younes Kaboul after question marks over their involvement against the Baggies.

Centre-half Kaboul – likely to take the place of Coates – has been able to train fully this week after missing Dick Advocaat’s final game in charge against West Ham with a knee problem.

Likewise, M’Vila is expected to be available after limping off in the dying stages against the Hammers with a hamstring tweak.

Allardyce, who will train with his full squad for the first time today after the return of Sunderland’s international contingent, confirmed: “Kaboul’s been training okay for the past few days, as has M’Vila.”