Sunderland have been handed a boost ahead of their pivotal relegation clash with fellow strugglers Norwich City on Saturday as the Sunderland Echo reports that Duncan Watmore may be fit enough to play some part at Carrow Road.
The Black Cats are four points adrift of the Canaries and safety with just six matches of the season remaining, and the result between the two sides could go a long way to deciding which of the two sides goes down.
The club's only long-standing injury problem is that of Watmore, who has not played in two months since starting in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield on 6 February after injuring his ankle ligaments in that match.
The young attacker has enjoyed a successful breakthrough season at the Stadium of Light, scoring three goals in 16 appearances, and the absence of his work rate and guile has been a big loss for Sam Allardyce's side.
However, Sunderland fans could be set to see him in action again weeks ahead of schedule, with the Sunderland Echo reporting that he has recommenced full training with his teammates.
The paper claims that Watmore may be fit enough to play some part at Carrow Road, although it concedes that next weekend's home tie with Arsenal may be a more realistic date for a significant return to action.
Watmore's return would mean that Allardyce has a full-strength squad to select from for the remaining weeks of the season as his side battle to avoid the drop.
If Sunderland were to win at Carrow Road, they would close the gap on Norwich to just a single point with a better goal difference and a game in hand over the East Anglia side, whereas if they lost they would find themselves seven points adrift.