Aiden McGeady is ready to boost Sunderland's bid for League One play-off glory as he prepares to return to training ahead of Saturday's semi-final showdown with Portsmouth.
The Republic of Ireland international missed the final two games of the regular season as he was given time to nurse the foot injury with which he had been playing after undergoing a series of pain-killing injections.
However, he is due to resume training on Friday ahead of the first leg clash with Checkatrade Trophy final conquerors Pompey at the Stadium of Light.
Manager Jack Ross said: "He will train tomorrow, but that has been a conscious decision. He possibly could have trained today, but this prolonged break that he has been able to have has been of real benefit to him.
"Look, ideally he would have another two or three weeks, four weeks of rest to enable to be completely healed, but he's certainly benefited from it. He feels good, he's looking forward to the game."
McGeady is likely to be joined in the squad by Lee Cattermole and George Honeyman, who have both shaken off knocks in timely fashion, while striker Duncan Watmore - who has been out of action since March with an ankle ligament problem - could yet play a role in the play-off campaign.
Ross said: "He only just returned to full training today, so we'll see how he reacts over the course of today and tomorrow morning. Saturday obviously comes around pretty quickly, but we'll see how he is over the next two or three days.
"He may come back into the thought-process for the second leg depending on where we are and what we need from the game because obviously how we approach that game will be determined partly by what happens on Saturday."