Sunderland manager Steve Bruce hopes to have three of his key players back fit for Sunday's derby with Newcastle.
Lee Cattermole, Nedum Onuoha and Danny Welbeck have all been pivotal in the Black Cats' rise into the top six this season and may return from injury against Alan Pardew's men.
Bruce told the club's official website, www.safc.com: "Onuoha, Cattermole and Welbeck might be in the equation, but we'll see how things go. It's early in the week right now. I hope we'll have some of our big players back for Sunday's game.
"One thing you want is your players going out there 100% fit. If they're not they don't play, it's as simple as that.
"They will have to train Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before I even consider them.
"One thing I've learnt over the years is if you try to rush someone back before they are fully fit, they are useless."