Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill says injured trio Danny Rose, Carlos Cuellar and Lee Cattermole are closing on comebacks.
The three players have all missed recent games due to fitness problems, with Tottenham loanee Rose and fellow defender Cuellar struggling with hamstring injuries, while Cattermole suffered a minor setback after returning from a knee problem.
However, with the Black Cats not in action until Tuesday due to the FA Cup fixtures this weekend, O'Neill is optimistic over the trio returning sooner rather than later.
"Hopefully we'll have that bit of extra freshness ahead of Tuesday's game," the manager told the club's official website.
"[The break] is as much about the injured players as anything else - Carlos Cuellar, Danny Rose and Lee Cattermole are all not that far away from being fit again.
"Having won the game [at Wigan] last Saturday, it would have been nice to be involved in the cup again with a chance to play Everton.
"That's gone now, so we can concentrate fully on Tuesday night."