GUS Poyet says he will only include Keiren Westwood in tonight’s Capital One Cup squad to face Southampton if he is convinced the Republic of Ireland keeper has recovered from his weekend knock.
The 29-year-old was injured in Sunderland’s game against Hull City on Saturday when he was involved in a full-blooded collision with ex-Black Cat Paul McShane which left him struggling with a neck and shoulder strain.
The injury eventually proved too much and he had to be substituted with former Arsenal keeper Vito Mannone taking his place just before half-time.
And Poyet said he will take advice before deciding whether or not to involve the keeper who has started every league game this season in tonight’s match.
“We will leave it up to the medics decide,” he said. “I’m not an expert. They are.
“But it was a big collision and he’s 50:50 as things stand to be available.”
If Mannone continues between the posts against the Saints, it will be one of a number of changes the head coach has to make.
The Uruguayan acknowledged: “As well as Keiren, we have Andrea Dossena and Lee Cattermole unavailable because of their red cards.
“So there is two, maybe three changes, that we have to make before we start and we will look to see if we might make more too because other players deserve chances too..”
Although Sunderland will be changed from their league line-up, Poyet still expects to put out as strong a side as possible as he looks to continue the club’s cup progress.
“It is an important game for us and whoever comes in must realise they have an opportunity,” he said.
“With some players missing for the next few games, I expect players playing tonight to be doing their very best to stake a claim to stay in the side.”