Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill admits his excuse for his team not being match-fit is wearing thin but still feels it is vindicated.
The Black Cats drew 1-1 with Liverpool on the weekend and O’Neill feels like it could have been a more positive result if the likes of Stephane Sessegnon and goalscorer Steven Fletcher were fully fit.
"I appreciate that the 'lack of pre-season' excuse is wearing pretty thin," said O’Neill.
"We're so many weeks into the season that even I'd expect to be match-fit by now.
"But there's no getting away from the fact that it's there and it's something we are working on.
"Steven Fletcher hasn't had a pre-season, but he's much fitter than he was against Swansea a couple of weeks ago and he almost finished the game against Liverpool.