Gus Poyet will give Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Scocco his Sunderland debut against Southampton in the FA cup on Saturday.
The head coach revealed that the January signing from Newell’s Old Boys will feature for as long as possible, with the Uruguayan looking to rotate his squad.
The Argentine attacker scored 24 goals in 33 league games last season in his homeland and Poyet is aiming to use the fifth-round tie to boost the 28-year-old’s fitness so that he can play a role in Sunderland’s battle against the drop.
“Nacho will play as much as he can – if it’s 45 minutes, it’s 45, if it’s 60, then 60,” Poyet told the club’s official website.
“We need to help him now and hopefully he can have a good game in terms of touches and ability. He will slowly get better.
“We’re looking to try and get Nacho ready for 10 Barclays Premier League games. That would be exceptional.”
Sunderland, 18th in the Premier League, host Southampton for a place in the FA cup quarter-finals, and face Manchester City in the League Cup final at Wembley on March 2.