Steve Bruce hopes to give Asamoah Gyan his Sunderland debut at the weekend but must wait before the Ghana striker returns from international duty.
The 24-year-old has yet to train with his new side following his £13million deadline-day move to the Black Cats and has been in Ghana for his country's African Cup of Nations qualifier against Swaziland.
He is due to fly into the UK on Thursday to meet his new team-mates for the first time and Bruce will assess him before deciding whether to hand him his debut against Wigan on Saturday.
"I've got to wait for him to get back from international duty to see how he is," Bruce told the Evening Chronicle.
"It's a long trip from Ghana and I will check on his condition when he walks through the door.
"But if he is OK, there's every chance he will be involved at some stage at Wigan."