Sunderland have been handed a boost with the news that midfielder Andy Reid will return sooner than expected.
The Black Cats attacker looked to be facing at least one month on the sidelines following a hamstring injury picked up against Portsmouth on 9th February.
However, assistant manager Erik Black has revealed that the 27-year-old Irishman is ahead of schedule.
"Reidy will probably be back in another 10 or 12 days," he told the club's official website.
"He's ahead of schedule and has been working extremely hard in the gym.
"He trained a little with the players on Tuesday. He's doing well and getting him back will be a major plus for us."
Meanwhile, Ghanaian defender John Mensah is hoping to stay in the Sunderland team for the game against Fulham on Sunday.
Mensah returned for the defeat at Arsenal last weekend following a spell on the sidelines, and Black says his recurrent injury problems are being managed by the club.
"We've managed John throughout the week," he added.
"He's done very well in almost every game he's played so obviously we want him in the team.
"We're still four or five days' training away so we can't say for definite."