Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill is hopeful that his side will soon be boosted by the return from injury of defensive pair Martin Laursen and Carlos Cuellar.
Laursen has not featured since the 1-0 win at West Ham due to knee problems, while Cuellar has been sidelined since the same game by a hamstring strain.
However, O'Neill has hopes that both players could yet recover in time for the derby clash with West Bromwich Albion this weekend.
He told the Birmingham Mail: "I don't know whether Saturday is too early for them, but they are certainly making progress in that direction.
"I'm hopeful that if there is no reaction to a little bit of running that they did on Monday, that they could maybe do a little bit towards the end of the week.
"Maybe then there would be a possibility of them joining in with the group tomorrow or Friday.
"That might not be a possibility, but if not, then Sunderland would become a strong possibility if they could put themselves in contention. It is obviously very encouraging.
"The expected time-frame for Carlos with a tweaked hamstring was proved right. As for Martin, we are now very hopeful, but more importantly Martin is hopeful."