Sunderland boss Steve Bruce insists striker Darren Bent will be ready for the new Premier League campaign.
The 26-year-old, who netted 25 times in all competitions last season, was left out of Wednesday night’s friendly defeat to Benfica, sparking concerns he could be facing a spell on the sidelines.
But Bruce told the Sunderland Echo: “Darren’s fine, but he’s got a couple of minor niggles and it wasn’t worth risking him.
“The situation did at least allow us to experiment with a 4-5-1 formation and explore that. It was a good game and it has been a good trip.”
Bruce also expects another frontman, Kenwyne Jones, to be fit to face Birmingham on August 14 despite picking up a knock.
“He’s twisted he knee a little, but he’ll be fine,” the Black Cats’ manager added.