Yesterday, Sunderland boss Chris Coleman provided an update on the club's injuries, confirming that Robbin Ruitter will be out for up to 12 weeks.
Jason Steele's failed deadline day move away to Derby County may actually turn out to be a positive now, with the Black Cats also having added Lee Camp from Cardiff City on loan just before the January window shut.
Sunderland suffered yet another defeat last Saturday, this time at the hands of Ipswich Town, and remain in dire need of some wins to launch themselves up and away from the drop zone.
News of a return for some players will provide a boost for the Sunderland fans, however, as Coleman revealed that a few faces are nearing a return to full fitness.
Speaking to the official Sunderland website Coleman said: "Paddy McNair should, possibly, if he's not in the squad for us at the weekend, play an under-23s game which is good.
"Jonny Williams played another 90 minutes with the under-23s so he is a bit closer."
"We've got Lamine Kone after he landed badly on his knee against Birmingham. Lamine should be OK, after this weekend.
"Other than that, Billy Jones, his knee is a bit aggravated but he trained [yesterday] and trained very well so he should be okay for the weekend."
Williams, who Coleman knows very well from his time managing Wales, will be hoping to return with a bang and kick-start his Sunderland career, while McNair will be hoping for much of the same.
The youngster, who once showed so much promise during his Old Trafford days, has failed to hold down a regular spot in the team since joining from Manchester United, but could be a real asset for Sunderland in the years to come, with the likes of John O'Shea nearing the end of his playing days.