Black Cats midfielder McNair has been blighted by injuries over the last 15 months.
Having returned from a cruciate knee injury, the Irishman has suffered from groin and stomach issues and while he played for the Under-23s last weekend against Exeter, Coleman will continue to tread carefully with the player, wary of not rushing him back after pal Duncan Watmore suffered an injury setback on his return.
McNair got more minutes under his belt for the second string yesterday, as he builds up his confidence and stamina.
Coleman said: “With Paddy, as a footballer, that particular injury, when anybody mentions it you wince. It’s a tough one.
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“When Duncan did his again, I’m quite sure that it sent a shockwave through Paddy’s system.
“So we’ve given Paddy more game time with the U23s, and he has been training well with us this week.
“He is a big boy, he is powerful, he makes good forward runs, and that’s what we need from him.
“In the Championship, you’d be surprised how far pace, power and organisation can take you.
“But he also has to have his mind right, and know that physically he is ready.
“I think another game with the U23s will do him a lot of good physically and psychologically.”
Meanwhile, Coleman revealed that Jack Rodwell had suffered an injury playing for the Under-23s against Exeter, while he offered an update on two other defenders.
“Marc [Wilson] has had another setback so we are going to try a different pathway with him because he has not really responded,” Coleman said.
“Lamine [Kone] has trained once this week and looks a bit more comfortable but this weekend is a bit too early for him, but next week he should be OK.”