SUNDERLAND will have a decision to make on the availability of Jewison Bennette this weekend with the Costa Rica winger not due to return to training until Friday, the day before their home tie with Preston North End.
The 19-year-old has been on international duty with his home nation where Costa Rica have played two games in South Korea. They faced the Taegeuk Warriors in the first of two games where Bennette scored both goals in a 2-2 draw in Goyang before losing beating Uzbekistan 2-1 in their other friendly.
With South Korea being eight hours ahead of British Summer Time and a flight time of around 12 hours to return to the UK, Bennette looks set to be assessed as Sunderland step up their preparations for the visit of the Lilywhites.
Head coach Tony Mowbray, 58, said: “Jewison has been away in Seoul in South Korea and is still there and probably won’t be back until training on Friday. He gets back on the evening of Thursday night. It’s difficult to integrate them into a team when they have been half way around the world.”
Since his permanent move from Herediano back in his homeland, the teenager has already endeared himself to the Wearside faithful thanks largely to his late equalising goal in the 2-2 draw with Watford before the international break.
Mowbray added: “Jewi has had a massive impact. The goal he scored at Watford and then he’s been away and in the first game, he’s scored a couple of goals for his country as well. He’ll come back on a high and we’ve got to try and utilise things like that and balance that off against the guy who has been half way around the world with jetlag etc.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland have received a boost ahead of the game as defender Dennis Cirkin made a return to training earlier this week.