Sunderland will be hoping they can get their season off to a winning start when they host Hull City in the first round of the EFL Cup on Saturday.
The Black Cats will know that they’re in for a closely-fought battle at the Stadium of Light though, with Grant McCann’s side recently being relegated from the Championship last term.
It’s been a positive pre-season for Sunderland, with the Black Cats winning their last three matches, although there was slight concern over some of the squad after their win over Harrogate Town.
Both Josh Scowen and Jordan Willis were forced off with knocks, which will have had Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson sweating over their fitness ahead of the EFL Cup clash against Hull City.
Speaking in a pre-match press conference ahead of the match, Parkinson issued an important injury update on Josh Scowen, Jordan Willis and Elliot Embleton.
“Josh is fine, he just took a nasty whack on his foot, but he has trained. Jordan had a slight groin problem, but he is fine as well.
“Elliot is back running this week. It was a very minor problem and we are expecting him to be back in full training next week.”
Sunderland’s first league match is up against Bristol Rovers on Saturday 12th September, in a match they’ll be expected to come away with three points from, as they look to make a timely return to the Championship.
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This is a welcome boost for Sunderland heading into this match.
Phil Parkinson will be taking the cup competitions seriously it seems, which will be pleasing to see for the club’s supporter, providing that the league is still their main focus.
Willis and Scowen’s injury worries will have been a concern after they were forced off against Harrogate Town, but it’s good to hear they’re both available for selection.
If Sunderland can continue to build on a strong pre-season, then I think they’ll run out winners against Hull City this weekend.