STEVE BRUCE will this morning be assessing the fitness of striker Kenwyne Jones who became the latest player to join Sunderland's walking wounded.
Last night's encounter with Benfica may have been billed as a pre-season friendly contesting the Albufeira Cup but no one seemed to have told the Portuguese side who gave the Wearsiders a very tough work out with lone striker Jones in particular the target of some robust challenges.
The Trinidad and Tobago international was forced off after only 34 minutes as he sustained what appeared to be a dead leg and Martyn Waghorn came on as his replacement.
Benfica had earlier broken the deadlock when a teasing left wing cross from Fabio Coentrao was met by Oscar Cardozo who rose above Anton Ferdinand to head home past Simon Mignolet from eight yards.
The Belgian Under-21 goalkeeper enjoyed an otherwise impressive evening and his smart second half save denied Alan Kardec before a late Carlos Martins' strike doubled Benfica's lead.
Lee Cattermole enjoyed a useful second half run out but Bruce will now be concerned that Jones can recover in time for the Premier League kickoff on August 14.
In the meantime, Sunderland hope to replace Ipswich bound goalkeeper Marton Fulop with England international David James.
Fulop is on the verge of agreeing a £1.5m switch to link up with Roy Keane's side and Bruce remains optimistic he can recruit the former Portsmouth keeper to bolster his goalkeeping ranks.
Bruce said: David James has talked to Celtic, which we always knew he was going to do. I don't think he is trying to play one off against the other, he's just keeping his options open at the moment.
We're still hopeful something will happen.
Marton Fulop is on the edge of joining Ipswich. They are talking personal terms as I understand it, so something should be finalised shortly as long as those talks go well, he said.
Out of favour striker David Healy was on target as a Sunderland XI ran out 3-1 winners against Gateshead at the Academy of Light yesterday.
The Tynesiders replied to goals from Jordan Cook and Healy with a Jonny Allan penalty before Oumare Tounkara made the game safe for the Black Cats.