Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has revealed he is rethinking the futures of Anton Ferdinand and Phil Bardsley as they have been impressive in pre-season training.
The pair were among those named at the end of the last campaign as players the club would consider offers for.
Ferdinand made 19 Premier League starts for the Black Cats last term, while Bardsley started 18 in the top-flight.
And Bruce admits that he may opt to keep them at the Stadium of Light because of their excellent attitude.
He told the Sunderland Echo: "If you ask me who has caught my eye most and who has been most impressive since coming back, I'd have to say that the two names which spring to mind might surprise a few.
"Anton Ferdinand and Phil Bardsley have come back in absolutely superb condition and that's a real tribute to them, given there was talk of them potentially moving on at the end of last season.
"It shows just the sort of attitude and determination a manager looks for.
"Maybe they read about the possibility they would be allowed to leave and decided that they would go away and return in peak condition and give it their best shot to stay part of it at Sunderland.
"Whether that's the case or not, you've got to compliment them for showing exactly the right sort of attitude."
Bruce is keen to offload a number of players this summer as he looks to rebuild his squad, and admits pre-season can be a time to impress.
"Pre-season is an unpredictable time and there's almost always someone who comes through and impresses you unexpectedly," he added.
"Last summer we had Jordan Henderson and, to a lesser extent, David Meyler who grabbed our attention.
"Over the next month it could be another youngster who has come on leaps and bounds or it could be a senior player who suddenly takes his game to a higher level.
"Obviously there are some players who have to move on because of the need for a smaller squads caused by new Premier League rules.
"But, for the rest of the squad, pre-season is a chance for them to put down their marker and to show me why they deserve to be in the first-team squad when the season starts against Birmingham City at the Stadium of Light on August 14."