JENSON SEELT will not be available for the opening weekend of the Championship season, with the summer signing still unable to train because of an ankle injury.

Seelt’s only involvement during pre-season came during the tour of the United States, with the defender having been unable to train in the last fortnight.

He has still not received the green light to return to the training pitches, and will therefore not be considered for Sunday’s Championship season-opener against Ipswich Town.


Sunderland head coach Tony Mowbray said: “Jenson has that problem with his ankle, it looks as if he's going to be a few weeks (away).

“It’ll be good moving forward when we’ve got plenty of choice, but the structure and the defence at the weekend looked pretty strong (against Real Mallorca).”

While Sunderland performed reasonably impressively as they drew with their La Liga opponents at the weekend, they were badly below par as they slumped to a 5-2 defeat at Hartlepool United last night.

Mowbray’s experimental line-up did not really work, with Niall Huggins having to be moved from his initial midfield position midway through the first half as the Sunderland boss switched from a five-man defence to a flat back four.

Mowbray accepts his selection backfired somewhat, but felt his players should still have delivered a better performance in front of more than 2,500 travelling fans.

As a result, he admits that his fringe players have not really made a compelling case for their inclusion in the team that will start against Ipswich.

He said: “I'm just disappointed for the fans, all the people who come and fill both ends of the stadium.

“Football is about application, every time you train and play you are being judged. I have to pick 11 out of the 25 that we've got and I think that if I look there tonight, I don't think I see many who are going to threaten the starting XI at the weekend.

“There's things for all the individuals to learn. There's no excuses, they (Hartlepool) played well but for us, it's probably good to have a game like that. An English game against a team with something to prove who run and fight and tackle and work really, really hard.

“They're good games. I don't see many there who will threaten the team on Sunday, I thought the performance on Saturday generally showed we have a lot of quality and fighting spirit. That wasn't really there at times tonight.”

The defeat exposed a worrying lack of depth and experience in Sunderland’s squad, which Mowbray understandably hopes will be addressed before the transfer window closes.

He said: “I think there's an obvious question about strength in depth just because of the inexperience of the group, but of course we did have some experienced players out there and they were amazing for us last year.

“We expect more for the fans who come out and spend their money to watch us. It felt at times as if we were missing that concentration tonight, some of the decision making was poor and I'm sure we won't see that when the season starts.”