Bracewell confident that injured Sunderland players will be fit for Premier League opener at Manchester City

Paul Bracewell is hopeful there will be brighter news on the injury front when the squad returns to training on Monday.

Saturday, 6th August 2016, 6:00 am
Duncan Watmore appeals in vain for a penalty in last night's friendly against Dortmund

Sunderland were without Jermain Defoe (thigh), Jan Kirchhoff (hamstring), Billy Jones (hip) and Seb Larsson for last night’s 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund in Austria. It left boss David Moyes with a threadbare squad from which to pick.

But Bracewell is hopeful that Defoe, Kirchhoff and Jones will be back training with the squad next week ahead of the opening Premier League clash with Manchester City on Saturday – with Larsson set to be assessed.

“We’re hoping Billy will be fit for the start of the season,” Bracewell said.

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“We left him and one or two others behind in the UK, but with a view to them joining back in on Monday, all being well.

“Jan is working over the weekend and we are hoping he will be back in. Billy as well.

“But we won’t know until Monday whether they have had any reactions from the work they have been doing.

“Again, Jermain has been working over the weekend and hopefully he will be back working with us next week.

“Seb’s picked up an injury and he is being assessed, so by Monday we will have a better picture.”

Moyes didn’t speak to the media after the 1-1 draw, with Bracewell put forward instead. “Dortmund are a very good side and it was a fantastic workout for us,” said Bracewell.

“We’ve come through hopefully with no new injuries, so, on the whole, it’s been a good workout.

“We’ve slowly but surely built up in terms of the opposition we have faced.

“We knew it would be a big test for us, but I thought the lads coped well with it and then, towards the end, we managed to get one or two of the younger lads on and it was a fantastic experience for them.

“Has it gone to plan? Yeah – up to now we have done okay.”

And the assistant manager is delighted to be staying on at the club, with Moyes keen to work with the coaching staff he inherited. Bracewell added: “Obviously Sam (Allardyce) has gone to work with England and the new manager has come in.

“He sat down with the first-team staff and said he was happy to work with us, so we were delighted about that.

“We’re trying to give him as much help and information as possible, because coming into a club with only two or three weeks before the season starts is difficult.”