Arca hopes improve

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Sunderland's hopes ahead of the first Tyne-Wear derby for two-and-a-half years have been enhanced by the news that Julio Arca may return from injury.

The Argentine has proved to be one of The Black Cats' most influential performers in recent seasons and had originally been ruled out of Sunday's live PremPlus encounter with Newcastle.

Mick McCarthy had been making contingency plans for the loss of the left-sided star due to a badly bruised toe, but Arca now insists there is still a 50 percent chance he will be fit to line up opposite bitter rivals Newcastle.

"I have a 50-50 chance," said Arca. "I am doing some gym work now and hope to join in training on Friday.

"I will do everything I can to get fit because I desperately want to play in the derby.

"At the moment we don't know whether I will recover in time."