Elliott back for Black Cats

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Stephen Elliott could make his first-team comeback for Sunderland on Saturday against relegation rivals Birmingham City.

The Republic of Ireland international has not played for The Black Cats since early November due to a back problem.

But he is now back in full training and scheduled to play for the reserves against their Aston Villa counterparts on Wednesday.

If Elliott emerges through the run-out unscathed then he will be in contention for the weekend's Premiership trip to Birmingham.

Black Cats boss Mick McCarthy is also boosted by the return to fitness of January signing Rory Delap.

The versatile Irishman has yet to play for Sunderland since joining from Southampton during last month's transfer window.

Delap has been hampered by an Achilles injury, but he is expected to line up alongside Elliott in the reserves.

The return of Delap and Elliott will be a boost to McCarthy as The Premiership's bottom club look to finish the season on a high.