Sunderland v Blackburn preview

New Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill has several injury concerns

ahead of his opening game. Striker Nicklas Bendtner has not trained

all week because of a groin problem while defender Phil Bardsley

has suffered a recurrence of an ankle injury, but O’Neill is

hopeful both will be available. Midfielder Lee Cattermole misses

out through suspension after picking up five yellow cards. Striker

Connor Wickham (knee) and goalkeepers Simon Mignolet (fractured

nose and eye socket) and Craig Gordon (knee) are also out. Martin

Olsson will have a fitness test on Saturday to see if he can make

the Blackburn squad. Olsson has been out with a hamstring and Ruben

Rochina is also doubtful. He suffered a muscle injury and has been

recovering this week after having his wisdom teeth removed. Steven

Nzonzi serves the final game of his three-match suspension while

Ryan Nelsen is still short of match fitness. Sunderland (from):

Westwood, Carson, Brown, Bardsley, Richardson, Turner, Laing,

Gardner, Vaughan, Larsson, Colback, Elmohamady, Meyler, Sessegnon,

Bendtner, Ji, McClean, Cook, Egan, Noble, Bramble. Blackburn

(from): Robinson, Bunn, Olsson, Samba, Lowe, Dann, Salgado, Givet,

Hanley, Rochina, Pedersen, Petrovic, Dunn, Hoilett, Yakubu,

Goodwillie, Formica, Roberts, Vukcevic, Slew, Blackman, Henley.