Gus Poyet has confirmed that Ricky Alvarez is still a 'very important' member of Sunderland's squad at his press conference today.
Alvarez has struggled to make an impression at the Stadium of Light since arriving this summer, but Poyet has faith in the winger's ability and he has suggested that he will feature at some point against Aston Villa tomorrow.
POYET: "Alvarez is very important. He knows that and he's very happy about it, so let's see what he can do tomorrow."— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) March 13, 2015
Reports in the Daily Mirror have suggested that Alvarez could make his loan move into a permanent one at the end of the season and it means that Sunderland's remaining games are of the utmost importance to him.
Alvarez is unlikely to be wanting to ply his trade at a Championship side, so if he does have a desire to stay on Wearside then he needs to raise his game to ensure that the Black Cats avoid the drop.
The South American trickster was brought in by Poyet to increase the team's attacking threat, but he does not have a Premier League goal or assist to his name this season.
Part of the reason for this hasn't been his own fault - Poyet has given him limited opportunities and injuries have thwarted his progress - but he does need to start making more of an impact on the pitch.
This weekend would be a good time to start, as Sunderland host fellow strugglers Aston Villa in what looks like a relegation 'six-pointer'.