Report: Billy Jones and Emanuele Giaccherini set for Tyne-Wear derby return

Gus Poyet Press Conference Still

The Sunderland duo set to return from injury for the Tyne-Wear derby on December 21.

The pair have spent over two months out of action through injury, having totalled just four competitive appearances between them this season.

They have returned to training with the first-team in the last week, and the Black Cats could theoretically name the pair in their matchday squad for Saturday’s tie with West Ham. Whilst this is welcome news for head coach Gus Poyet, he is wary of rushing them back too early, and potentially seeing them on the treatment table for another extended period of time.

Jones suffered a reoccurrence of a hamstring strain that had been troubling him over the summer during a behind-closed-doors friendly with Middlesbrough in October, while Italian international Giaccherini has been out of action since Sunderland’s 0-0 draw with Burnley in September, having sustained damage to his ankle.

As reported by the Sunderland Echo, Poyet wants to duo to spend at least 10 days each on the training ground before considering them for competitive action, and the coach has confirmed that this leaves them open for a return on December 21, with the Black Cats making the short journey to Tyneside to face local rivals Newcastle United at St James’ Park.

“Yes, they are joining in this week,” Poyet admitted when pressed on the pair’s inclusion.

“But that doesn’t mean they will be available for West Ham.

“Unless anyone gets injured, we’ll probably give them an extra week, so they’ll probably be available for Newcastle.

“I would like them to have 10 days proper training with the first-team – being at that level of competition which helps you to play.”

The duo’s return will be greatly appreciated by Poyet, with Jones able to fill in across the heavily-depleted defensive line, and Giaccherini maybe becoming the player who can unlock defences in the search for goals - a player that the Black Cats so desperately need this season.

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