Steve Bruce has revealed that Kieran Richardson could make his return to action against West Brom.
The Sunderland boss believes the midfielder, who has been sidelined since late March with a hamstring problem, should be ready for a home date with the Baggies on Saturday.
He is, however, still uncertain as to when Fraizer Campbell will be back in contention following a lengthy knee problem.
Bruce said: "We're hoping Kieran will be fit. We'll know more on Friday about Fraizer."
The Black Cats manager also revealed that centre-half Titus Bramble has 'no chance' of figuring this weekend as he continues to nurse a knee complaint.
He added: "We're hopeful he could be okay, although not for the weekend."
Bruce needs his key men back as soon as possible as Sunderland have hit a serious slump of late.
They have collected just a solitary point from the last 21 on offer, seeing them slip out of top-six contention and into the bottom half of the table.
Ups and downs
With just six points now separating them from the drop zone, as they sit on 38 for the season, there is a fear that they could get dragged into trouble if they are unable to stop the rot.
On the faltering form of his side, Bruce told the Sunderland Echo: "I couldn't have imagined a couple of months ago just how difficult it would be to reach 40 points.
"However, we are where we are and we have still got six weeks of the season to go and a lot left to play for.
"We have only picked up one point from our last seven games, so we have still got work to do. We are sitting in 12th position and if I am honest, yes, looking over our shoulders.
"We are having our worst spell of the season right now and we have to overcome it.
"All sides have bad spells - whether it be Chelsea, Man United, Arsenal or Man City or anybody. This is the most competitive the Premier League has ever been and it's made it a fantastic league this year, for the neutral especially.
"Of course, there have been ups and downs here like anywhere else and at the moment, we are in the middle of a horrible run. But I still really believe we can cement a place in the top 10.
"If you look at our run-in, it looks good on paper for us and so it is entirely in our hands."