Tony Mowbray will give players a chance to prove their fitness ahead of Stoke City

Sunderland is in a state of uncertainty as they approach their weekend match against Stoke City. Manager Tony Mowbray is holding off on making the final selection for his team due to several key players who are still trying to prove their fitness. The Black Cats are set to resume their Championship campaign at the bet365 Stadium after the international break.

One notable absence will be midfielder Dan Neil, who is serving a one-game suspension following a red card in the previous match against Middlesbrough. This leaves Mowbray with a position to fill. Before the break, he was optimistic about the potential return of midfielders Pierre Ekwah, Bradley Dack, and Alex Pritchard for the Stoke game. However, the final decision will depend on their performance in training, which will take place tomorrow.

Sunderland's Pierre Ekwah

Mowbray emphasized the importance of these training sessions, stating that players need to be fully engaged in team training to be considered for the match. Some players have been working with physios, while others have been training with the team, and Mowbray is taking a cautious approach, not wanting to rush their return.

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Additionally, Sunderland is still waiting for the return of some international players, causing further uncertainty in the team preparation. Mowbray expressed frustration about the lack of time to work with the full squad and the fatigue of players who participated in multiple international matches.

Defender Dan Ballard’s availability is uncertain due to an injury sustained during international duty with Northern Ireland, while Niall Huggins, who left the field during the match against Middlesbrough, is back in training and might be an option for the Stoke game. Mowbray is hopeful that Huggins will be ready, pending a full training session on Friday.

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