Sunderland boss Steve Bruce will have three players returning from injury in his squad for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Liverpool.
Skipper Lee Cattermole (back), defender Nedum Onuoha and midfielder Bolo Zenden (both calf), will all be included after resuming full training, while Danny Welbeck could be handed a first start after his return from a knee injury at Arsenal a fortnight ago.
The game could come just too soon for striker Fraizer Campbell after his seven-month lay-off with a knee injury, while Michael Turner (also knee) is expected to return to training next week.
Craig Gordon is likely to be named among the substitutes as he continues on an exercise programme to address tendinitis in his knee, while David Meyler (also knee) is closing in on full fitness.
Welbeck is determined to make up for lost time as he plots a return to the Sunderland starting line-up.
The 20-year-old ended a two-month absence through injury when he was introduced as a substitute in the 0-0 draw at Arsenal last time out, and with Liverpool arriving on Wearside on Sunday before a trip to Manchester City in a fortnight's time, he is desperate to get back into the swing of things.
Welbeck was earning rave reviews when injury struck at Aston Villa on January 5 as he tore a cartilage and was ruled out for up to eight weeks.
His cameo at the Emirates Stadium has been followed by an appearance for the reserves and a run-out in an internal practice match, and now he is ready to step up his involvement.
Welbeck said: "I have missed quite a few games, so I was obviously a bit down-hearted at that, but I took it as a positive.
"I am just looking forward to playing as many minutes as possible from now until the end of the season, and then we will see what happens from there.
"I have missed a lot of games over these past two months, so just to get back fit and get as many games under my belt as possible before the end of the season, that's my main aim."
Liverpool are likely to field their strongest front pair of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll for Sunday's trip to Sunderland.
Owing to Carroll's recent injury problems, the duo have played just 15 minutes together - in the 3-1 win over Manchester United - since both arrived in January.
However, the England international made his first start for the club in their Europa League exit against Braga, for which Suarez was ineligible, and the former Newcastle striker is likely to retain his place with the Uruguayan returning to the line-up.
Defender Daniel Agger may be fit, having missed the last four matches with a knee injury, but the Reds will be without captain Steven Gerrard (groin), defenders Martin Kelly and Fabio Aurelio (both hamstring) and midfielder Jonjo Shelvey (knee).
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has warned his players they cannot afford to fall into the trap of becoming a long-ball team with Carroll in the side.
The 6ft 3ins striker has already displayed an impressive aerial dominance in his three appearances since his #35million British record move from Newcastle.
However, in Thursday's Europa League exit to Braga there was an over-reliance on getting the ball up to him early with the three of the back four in Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel and Danny Wilson launching frequent long passes upfield.
It is perhaps an understandable tendency to try to utilise your greatest strength at every available opportunity but Dalglish wants to see more variety in their play.
"Andy has tremendous assets which we have to learn to get the best out of and we have got assets that will help," said the Scot.
"But he has to learn how we can get the best out of him.
"We have to fuse the two things together, play to his strengths but also play to ours and it will take a bit of time to get it working.
"The quicker they get gelling with each other the better it will be for everyone but I think the signs are very positive."
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