Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Key Cats Duo Get Back in Swing

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Key Cats Duo Get Back in Swing

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Mick McCarthy will let key defensive duo George McCartney and Gary Breen off the leash against Hull City this evening in a bid to get them match-fit for the start of the season.

Neither Breen or McCartney travelled to North America for the Black Cats pre-season tour as they were advised to stay on Wearside to rest following respective knee and ankle problems.

And, while both have fully recovered from their injuries, they are well short of match fitness and desperately need games before the Premiership curtain raiser against Charlton Athletic at the Stadium of Light on August 13.

While their Black Cats team-mates have played four games in two weeks on tour, Breen and McCartney ( who would be expected to start in McCarthy's strongest line-up ( have only been able to carry out light fitness work at the Academy of Light.

"George and Gary should be fine for the start of the season," said a jet-lagged McCarthy, who will also start with Tommy Miller and Danny Collins at the KC Stadium.

"There have been some misguided reports that they might miss the start of the season, but I don't think that will be the case.

"We had an 11-a-side match in training today and they were both involved so they have recovered from their injuries. We left them at home because it wasn't worth risking them in America. It gave them the opportunity to get everything right.

"But, as a result, they are a little bit behind the rest of the lads in terms of match fitness because they haven't been able to play any games while we have been away.

"They need to play games and quickly. They need as much football as they can possible get between now and the end of the season.

"They will definitely play against Hull City. I've just got to decide whether to give them both a full 90 minutes straight off, or ease them into it a little more gently.

"But, at this stage of pre-season, you want as many players as possible to play for 90 minutes because this is what they are going to have to do in just over a fortnight's time in the Premiership."

Sunderland have returned from their travels with no new injury worries, although Nyron Nosworthy has a slight ankle problem picked up in the Wearsiders' final tour game against Portland Timbers on Saturday and is unlikely to feature tonight. …

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