Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole is in line for a return to action against Liverpool on Sunday.
The 22-year-old midfielder, who has been sidelined by a back problem since the end of December, is back in training and played in a practice match last weekend.
With striker Danny Welbeck also among the fold once again after playing 20 minutes as a substitute at Arsenal following his return from a knee injury, manager Steve Bruce's selection problems are starting to ease.
Fraizer Campbell too is back on the training ground after a long-term knee problem, although this weekend could come too soon for him, while Bolo Zenden and Nedum Onuoha are also on the comeback trail after calf strains.
Bruce told the club's official website, www.safc.com: "Lee will be there or thereabouts. Touch wood, he will be in the squad, and so will Danny.
"Lee has been out for a long time. He will certainly be involved, but I will make a decision closer to the time. It's good to see Danny, Fraizer and Lee all back training. We have had Bolo and Nedum back on the training ground too."