April 10, 2024

Sunderland have welcomed Jay Matete back to training. Speaking ahead of today’s clash with West Brom, Mike Dodds confirmed that the midfielder was back on the pitch after picking up a knee injury in pre-season.

Jay Matete joined Sunderland in January 2022 with high hopes and made 16 appearances in League One.

However, his time in the Championship was limited and he was eventually sent out on loan to Plymouth Argyle.

The 22-year-old was exceptional for The Pilgrims and became a regular as they claimed the League One title, before returning to Wearside with the aim of battling his way into the starting line-up.

Matete did look to have a chance of making his mark on the team under Tony Mowbray, however he lasted only a matter of a few games during the pre-season tour of the USA before picking up a serious injury that has kept him out of action since July.

Ahead of today’s game, Mike Dodds confirmed that both Matete and Timothee Pembele were back in training. He said: “Jay Matete has also trained as well, which is two massive positives for us.

“They won’t be involved tomorrow, it’ll probably be a little bit too early for them, but we’re hoping they’ll be involved in the next week.”

North Carolina v Sunderland: Pre-Season Friendly
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Tony Mowbray had initially hoped that Jay Matete would be back before Christmas, so his schedule has been pretty spot on.

Can Jay Matete force his way into the starting XI?

Given that we are really lacking depth in central midfield, the former Fleetwood Town man couldn’t be back at a better time.

Dan Neil has been brilliant for most of the season, but Pierre Ekwah has really struggled recently and Jobe Bellingham is also far from his best.

Matete certainly has a chance to claim his spot in the team heading into the busy winter period, while it will also give our other midfielders a chance to have a well deserved rest.

Of course, Matete will also see his return as a chance to impress the eventual new head coach, as he will be given pretty much a clean slate upon his comeback to training.

As well as that, it would be a surprise if we didn’t bulk out the midfield in the January transfer window anyway. We really need another player that is able to do things that Corry Evans could do before he was sidelined – but preferably a much younger, mobile version.

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