Gus Poyet has refused to offer any reassurance to the summer signings who have been left in the cold since he took over from Paolo Di Canio.
Poyet has only started six of the 14 players who were signed during an extensive summer recruitment drive and has not found a place on the bench for either Cabral or Mo Diakite in any of his three games. That is despite the pair being two of the more high-profile close-season captures.
Like Di Canio and interim chief Kevin Ball, Poyet has reverted to familiar and long-standing names like Phil Bardsley, Carlos Cuellar, Seb Larsson and Craig Gardner.
Poyet offered Cabral an olive branch by saying Lee Cattermole’s red card might give him a chance, but he hinted at the struggles of the new arrivals by confirming he was picking solely on application in training and games.
He said: “It’s the manager’s prerogative, the decision of the manager,
“I came here and tried to analyse the quality of the players and the squad and, depending on what I think for Sunday, I will pick those players.
“I don’t think ‘he’s been here for five years’ so i’ll pick him or ‘he’s been here since the summer’ I’ll pick him. It’s all the same for me.
“The ones who are performing stay on the pitch, the ones who don’t are out. I have two players out for three games. There are two positions to grab because of that.
“If the players who come in play then Andrea and Lee have a problem.
“It’s not depending on me, it’s depending on the players who’re coming in. If they don’t perform then the others have a chance to come back. For me, it’s one team, one group and it doesn’t matter where you come from, if you’re tall or small, fat or skinny you are the same.
“If I need you then you play. I don’t analyse if you were here before the summer or not.”
Poyet stopped just short of criticising the way Sunderland had tried to change their entire team over the summer, but he will use the next international break to assess whether some of the newcomers should be allowed to leave on loan.
Asked whether Sunderland had tried to do too much, he added: “I’d love to tell you an answer right now yes or no, but I wasn’t here so I don’t know what the situation was with the other players and why it was needed.
“I have an explanation but unfortunately I can’t share it with you. For me, I need to adapt to where I need to go until January at least.
“Then next week in the international break i’ll have a proper report on each player and we’ll move on from there.”
Many of the newcomers have been unsettled by being left out of a side after being sold on Di Canio’s summer overhaul.
Poyet admits it is a difficult part of the job to explain to players who are new to the country they are not part of his plans.
He said: “I’m sure it’s not easy for them and it’s even more difficult for the staff to keep them happy because they’ve moved with their families and a few are not even making the bench.
“When you move you move for a reason with expectations and we try to manage the best we can which isn’t easy.
“It’s part of the job that’s not easy but not nice, there are players that whatever you tell them they won’t accept it because they came for a reason and that’s to play.”
Quizzed on Cabral, he said: “He’s been in contention for every game. We play one way and at the moment we’ve been using Lee, Seb and Jack and Craig and he may have a chance.”