KENWYNE Jones is facing a race against time to be fit for Sunderland’s weekend trip to Fulham after limping out of last night’s 3-0 reserve win over Wigan at Eppleton CW.
Jones has been out of action for a month while he served a three-game ban, but boss Steve Bruce decided to give him a run-out to give him chance to build up match fitness.
Jones won an 12th minute penalty – converted by hat-trick hero Ryan Noble – which led to Sunderland’s first goal.
However, the foul on him by Joe Holt left the Trinidad and Tobago star with a dead-leg and he lasted only another seven minutes before hobbling off.
Bruce will have to hopes Jones recovers in time to play at Craven Cottage.
Jones’ injury put a dampener on an impressive display from the Wearsiders against basement side Wigan, with Ryan Noble netting three times in the first 35 minutes - including two penalties.
Noble tucked away the first spot-kick after Jones had been sent sprawling by that clumsy Holt challenge, and then doubled Sunderland’s lead in the 27th minute.
Roy O’Donovan burst through central midfield before playing the ball to Robbie Weir wide on the right, and he crossed in low for the unmarked Noble to slide in at the near post and divert it past the goalkeeper from four yards out.
Noble earned the second penalty himself, getting a toe to David Meyler’s throughball just ahead of oncoming goalkeeper Lee Nicholls before going down after minimal contact with the Wigan man.t inside the box.
Referee Scott Duncan again pointed to the spot, and Noble picked himself up to complete his treble, firing low into the bottom left-hand corner.
Sunderland dominated possession in the second half but could not add to their lead.
Wigan had the chance to score a consolation in injury time when Russell Anderson brought down Lewis Codling inside the box. Anderson was the last man and saw red for the foul, but Cywka saw his spot-kick saved by Trevor Carson.
SUNDERLAND (4-4-2): Carson, Weir (L Noble 80), Anderson, Kay, Liddle (Brown 61), O’Donovan, Meyler, Reed, Murphy, Jones (Tounkara 19), R Noble. Subs (not used): Wilson, Cornforth
Sent Off: Anderson
WIGAN ATHLETIC (4-5-1): Nicholls, Kupisz, Langley (Nolan 61), McCarten, Barnett, Cywka, Holt (Redmond 64), Routledge, McManaman, Mustoe, Codling. Subs (not used): Williams, Crane, Jukes
Referee: Scott Duncan Attendance: 458