BILLY JONES is not a serious injury concern after the new signing missed Sunderland’s final friendly in Portugal.
Right-back Jones was struggling throughout Sunderland’s 10-day stint in the Algarve with a tight hamstring and watched Saturday’s stalemate with Vitoria Setubal from the sidelines.
The Bosman arrival’s only game time in Portugal came in a 45-minute run-out against CD Nacional last Wednesday and he was unable to participate in full training by the end of Sunderland’s time on the Continent.
But Jones has not suffered a strain and Sunderland boss Gus Poyet is confident that the former West Brom man will recover swiftly.
Poyet said: “Billy is alright. I did not play him, just as a precaution.
“We didn’t want to take a risk when we don’t have too many defenders available.
“His hamstring is a little bit tight, not a pull or a tear or anything like that.
“He told us after 35 minutes on Wednesday and we were laughing because five minutes later he was going all the way forward for a corner!
“But he will be fine.”
Poyet hopes to have Jones available for Thursday’s friendly against Real Betis, at Bishop Auckland’s Heritage Park.
The 27-year-old will be one of several players who didn’t feature against Setubal at Poyet’s disposal, regardless of how many transfers are completed over the next three days.
Seb Larsson is due to feature after flying home from Portugal while Lee Cattermole and Wes Brown should be back after they weren’t risked against Setubal.
Jozy Altidore is also pencilled in to make his first appearance of pre-season.
, as he makes his way back from the hamstring strain which brought a premature end to his World Cup campaign.