Stefano Okaka and Sebastian Prodl look like only being fit enough for a place on the Boxing Day bench while Walter Mazzarri is still deciding whether to unleash Isaac Success from the off against Crystal Palace.
Okaka has missed the last two games with a hamstring problem and, along with Prodl, who is struggling with a leg issue, has not trained with the main group this week.
“Okaka and Prodl have trained individually,” said Mazzarri. “But yes, they have trained. In the next few days we will decide if they will be available or not. Prodl for the bench, yes. We are trying to get Okaka back at least from the bench.”
Craig Cathcart was named on the bench for the game at Sunderland but we gather there was little chance of him being able to come on as he hasn’t got enough training under his belt. “I don’t think Cathcart [is ready to start],” said Mazzarri. “We will see in the next few days.”
Success has been given increased time from the bench in the last two matches and is edging ever closer to his first start since the away game at Middlesbrough.
“There is a chance he can start,” said Mazzarri. “We are still evaluating the player.”
It will be some time, perhaps even the start of next season, before Mazzarri is able to call on the service of the luckless Roberto Pereyra. He has an operation on the lateral meniscus in his left knee and Mazzarri has been told by the club’s doctors that he’ll miss the rest of the season
“It is very difficult to tell [how long he’ll be out],” said Mazzarri who didn’t sound like someone who thought he’d get his playmaker back inside three months. “There are many variables, it depends on many things. He will be out for some months, for sure.”