Sbragia warns Black Cats duo
Ricky Sbragia insists Kieran Richardson and Dean Whitehead will not simply walk back into his first-team.
Last Updated: 21/04/09 2:19pm
Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia insists Kieran Richardson and Dean Whitehead will not simply walk back into his first-team after recovering from injury.
Richardson and Whitehead have been on the sidelines recently with calf injuries, but have resumed first-team training this week after not being fit enough to be in the frame to face Hull City.
Sbragia is delighted to have the duo available to face West Brom at The Hawthorns on Saturday, although he has hinted he might stick with the XI that helped secure the points against The Tigers.
"It's that age old problem in football - you got players coming back who you would expect to put straight into the first team," he told the Sunderland Echo.
See how it goes
"But do you change a winning team? What we'll do is simply see how they go in training this week and take it from there.
"Kieran, for example, wasn't fit on Friday at all to play in Saturday's game against Hull. But he did a bit of training on Saturday morning and was desperate to be a sub.
"Deano wanted to play on Saturday but he couldn't have been any more than 70 per cent fit and you've got to be sensible sometimes in situations like those.
"Kieran will be back in full training and I expect him to be available for the weekend and I expect Dean to be there or thereabouts too.
Food for thought
"It'll give me something to think about in terms of selection and it's likely the choice won't be easy. But these are the sort of selection problems every manager wants."
Meanwhile, Sbragia is not getting carried away with their win over Hull City, stating defeat against The Baggies could see them dragged back into the thick of things.
"Saturday was a big boost but we know we are still in the fight," he told the club's official website. "A bad result [at West Brom] and we could slide back down towards the bottom three.
"We're not safe, we know that, and we have to kick on. I hope we don't get carried away with things."