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Oviedo due back at Sunderland after CONCACAF Gold Cup injury; will he make pre-season & what next?

Bryan Oviedo will return to Sunderland this week after picking up an injury on international duty. Will he feature in pre-season and what next for the full-back who has hinted he may leave the Stadium of Light?

Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Left-back Bryan Oviedo will return to Sunderland this week after being ruled out of the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a muscular rupture.

The 27-year-old has been with the Costa Rican squad at the continental championships of Northern and Central America and the Caribbean.

The Sunderland defender missed his country's opening game against Honduras on Friday having injured his leg last Wednesday in training.

Oviedo on international duty with Costa Rica

An MRI scan yesterday confirmed that Oviedo cannot continue in the competition and he will return to Wearside this week to continue his recovery.

So with a return to Sunderland in the coming days the defender who was signed from Everton in January will move closer to resolving his future on Wearside.

Oviedo concluded the season by declaring that ideally he would seek options in the Premier League for the upcoming campaign before recently suggesting he's actually happy to remain at Sunderland in the Championship - though he wasn't absolutely clear on that:

At the moment I am a Sunderland player. I am happy and calm; we will see later. I'm thinking of returning to the club after the Gold Cup.

With that return now imminent, Oviedo will still likely miss pre-season preparations with a two-to-three week timescale on recovery from this latest injury in a career marred by lay-offs. Whether he can get a run-out during the matches to be played later in July, remains to be seen but it may be unlikely.

Oviedo has only played 60 Premier League games in the last five years since moving to Everton from FC Copenhagen. Being understudy to Everton stalwart Leighton Baines hardly helped, but his time on the pitch since arriving in England has been constantly curtailed by injuries.

A fracture in 2013/14 ruled the defender out for six months. On his return the following season, Oviedo suffered a hamstring injury then a damaged metatarsal in his right foot picked up in training next.

Oviedo's injury in 2014

2015/16 brought more of the same with a thigh injury causing Oviedo to miss 9 games in that campaign for Everton and a recent hamstring problem meant the full-back was absent from much of Sunderland's relegation run-in through April into May last season.

In fact, Oviedo has been unavailable for selection through injury for something like thirty percent of the league games played since he moved to England - a significant amount for a full-back. That's 504 lost days to lay-offs.

Though by comparison the man who signed for Sunderland on the same day as Oviedo in January - Darron Gibson - had lost about fifty percent more than that by the end of last term.

Injury-prone: Oviedo and Gibson
SAFC.com

As for his future at Sunderland, Oviedo will meet up with new manager Simon Grayson for the first time upon his return. The new Black Cats boss utilised a mixture of Billy Jones and loan signing Brendan Galloway at left-back yesterday against Hibs.

There were suggestions last week that Grayson is seeking to sign another right-back which may explain his testing of Jones' versatilty.

And, Under-23 left-back Tommy Robson may also be in contention for squad places, having signed a new deal. Though there are suggestions that the 21-year-old will be sent on loan again for six months next season after a successful stint last term with Limerick Town in the League of Ireland.

As Grayson continues to consider his defensive options, the future of Oviedo will no doubt loom on his radar once the Costa Rican left-back lands back in the north east this week.