Steve Bruce is hoping Sunderland duo Andy Reid and Jordan Henderson will be fit to return for next weekend's game against Manchester City.
Henderson has been out with an ankle injury since the 1-1 draw with Wigan Athletic in early February, while Reid has not featured since the following game against Portsmouth.
Reid is making progress from a hamstring problem and, while Tuesday's game against Bolton is likely to come too soon, the Irish midfielder could be fit for the visit of City a week on Sunday.
"The Manchester City game would be the ideal scenario," Bruce told the Sunderland Echo regarding a date for the returns of Henderson and Reid. "It could be as soon as that.
Delighted with progress
"But we won't push them to return too soon because everyone knows the dangers of players pushing themselves too hard to return or coming back too early and picking up another injury.
"But we're delighted with their progress and they're both looking to step up their rehab work next week.
"If the Manchester City game comes too soon, that's fine, because they are almost certain to be ready for the match after that.
"And if they are, that's great news for us because they're creative players, good team players and that's what we need at the moment."