Sunderland Vs Everton, Mon 22 Nov 2010

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Sunderland manager Steve Bruce is hoping leading scorer Darren Bent could return for Monday night's Barclays Premier League clash with Everton.

The 26-year-old has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, but is back in training and may be available once again.

Danny Welbeck, who has partnered record signing Asamoah Gyan in Bent's absence, is expected to recover from a tight hamstring, but John Mensah (shoulder) and Anton Ferdinand (hamstring) will be missing once again. David Meyler is working his way back towards full match fitness following a serious knee injury, but Fraizer Campbell (also knee) remains on the sidelines.

The Black Cats will head into their latest test having restored the balance of their season with a return of seven points from a possible nine against Stoke, Tottenham and, in remarkable fashion, Chelsea, since their derby nightmare at Newcastle.

They have lost only two league games all season and while seven draws have demonstrated how difficult they are to beat, two of their four wins this season have come in the last three games.

That is a statistic upon which Bruce is keen to improve, although he knows that will be no easy task against David Moyes' Everton outfit.

He said: "I'm a huge admirer of Everton. They are a fantastic team and they will take some beating.

"We must make sure we keep our performance like we did last week.

"They are the epitome of their manager - hard-working, they don't give anything up - they are a very, very good side.

"They have got some smashing individual players in Steven Pienaar and Mikel Arteta - the list is endless.

"It will be a difficult game, no question."

Everton are again without midfielder Marouane Fellaini.

The Belgium international is serving the second match of a three-game suspension for his sending off against Bolton earlier this month.

Manager Moyes has reported no fresh injury concerns following last week's midweek internationals.

That leaves Leon Osman (ankle), Victor Anichebe (knee) and Ross Barkley (broken leg) as the only major absentees.

Everton are now just one point above the bottom three ahead of the game in hand they play at the Stadium of Light.

Victory would push the Merseysiders back up to 10th and give the team's campaign a much healthier look.

"I don't think we did great against Arsenal but we had been on a relatively good run," said Moyes, whose side finished eighth after losing just two of their last 24 games last season.

"I was disappointed with the results against Blackpool and Bolton, that we didn't take more points. I think that is where the disappointment has come.

"We'd have been better off winning one and losing one - we'd have got more points.

"I think the Arsenal game, we didn't quite reach the mark - but right up until the last minute we were close to getting back in the game.

"It says a lot that, from me especially, there is an expectancy that we can go and beat Arsenal now. It is amazing how things change over the years."

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