GEORGE McCARTNEY has given Sunderland manager Steve Bruce a timely boost by returning to training after a hamstring injury.
Bruce was criticised by a section of fans for allowing Danny Collins, the only recognised cover at left-back, to join Stoke City.
It was a decision that looked to have backfired when Mc- Cartney was injured on international duty with Northern Ireland last week.
However, despite initial fears that he would be out for six weeks, the £6m full-back could be in contention for the visit of Wolves a week on Sunday.
“George was running on Monday and looked good, considering it was only ten days since he picked up the injury,”
“But, given his history with hamstring problems, I’m going to err on the side of caution with him.
“I doubt very much that I will risk him on Saturday. I’ve no need to take a chance, because Kieran Richardson did a good job for me at left-back Paulo Da Silva can play there.”
Richardson’s ability to play the full-back has certainly helped Bruce, who must have feared the worst when Mc- Cartney withdrew from international duty after Collins’ sale.
Bruce’s attempts to transform the look of his squad continued yesterday when he allowed striker Roy O’Donovan to join Southend United on a month’s loan.
O’Donovan was signed by Roy Keane from Cork City in 2007 and still has a year remaining on his contract.
He has previously had spells with Dundee United and Blackpool on loan, but he is not thought to be in Bruce’s plans and has been available throughout the summer.
■ Sunderland’s young striker Jordan Cook suffered cruciate ligament damage to his right knee while playing for the reserves against Burnley on Tuesday night.
Cook is now expected to be out of action for several months.