Bendtner boost for Black Cats

O'Neill upbeat on striker's chances of facing Everton

Nicklas Bendtner: The Dane has returned to training and could be fit for Sunderland's FA Cup tie against Everton

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Nicklas Bendtner is winning his race to be fit for Sunderland's FA Cup quarter-final against Everton on Saturday.

The Denmark striker, on loan from Arsenal for the season, was in serious doubt for the tie after being carried off the pitch on a stretcher with a knee injury during their recent 1-0 win over Liverpool following a clumsy challenge by Martin Skrtel.

The club were sweating on his fitness but manager Martin O'Neill has revealed that the Sunderland doctors have given him the green light to pick the forward, who had scored in his previous two games since returning from a facial injury.

"The news on Nicklas is encouraging," said O'Neill. "We had originally been expecting to wait 48 hours for swelling to go down around the knee before we could consider a scan.


"But the knee itself got much better in the 24 hours immediately afterwards, which looked good and it meant he felt quietly confident about doing a little bit of training yesterday.

"The very fact that he felt confident enough to want to try it out is obviously a good sign, but we just have to wait and see how it develops over the week and see whether there's any reaction.

"You can never pre-judge a game, but it wouldn't surprise me if the cup game against Everton is a tight affair and that being the case, you need players who can nick you a goal and players who can stop them going in at the other end.

"We had that at the weekend in what was a very tight game against Liverpool, but we were defensively very solid and we had players like Fraizer Campbell and Nicklas who always had the ability to be dangerous in attack."

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