After arriving from Wigan Athletic last August in a deal worth £6m, the Stockton-born midfielder forged an immediate understanding with Black Cats skipper Lorik Cana. It is no coincidence that the Wearsiders' slump followed Cattermole damaging his knee ligaments.
Sunderland won five of their eight games prior to Cattermole sustaining the injury, but only one of the seven games when the midfielder was sidelined.
His return to first-team action could prove crucial as Steve Bruce's side attempt to pull clear of the Premier League relegation positions.
Cattermole appeared off the pace in last Sunday's dismal draw at home to Fulham, prompting him to redoubled his efforts in the gym.
I'm feeling good physically.
I went to see the nutritionist last week and I've lost a couple of kilos over the course of about ten days, he revealed.
The suspension I had after getting sent off at Portsmouth gave me the chance to work harder with the fitness coach, rather than train with the rest of the team, who had short sessions because of the number of games.
I went to see the nutritionist off my own bat really. It was a good chance to get in a kind of mini pre-season with the fitness coach. I did that all after the Portsmouth game. I did two sessions in the gym every day and I came in last Monday, when most of the other players were off, to put in some work and try and get a bit of extra fitness in the bank.
Bruce hailed Cattermole's return and confirmed his side had missed his battling qualities.
He is physically fit, but obviously he is finding it a little bit of a struggle at the moment just to adapt, to come back playing again, said- Bruce.
He had only completed seven games going into March, and he has found it a bit of a struggle dealing with being injured. Cattermole was the driving force of this team two or three months ago, and we missed him.
Despite the club's precarious league position, scouts have already begun to draw up a potential list of summer transfer targets, with Ajax winger Luis Suarez on the radar of chief scout Ricky Sbragia.
Bruce has acknowledged that significant squad rebuilding is required and this summer will be another period of change at the club as they seek the stability sought by chairman Niall Quinn and Ellis Short, the Sunderland owner.
Both have been alarmed by the prospect of Sunderland becoming involved in a third successive battle against the drop.