Steven Pienaar and Victor Anichebe are nearing a return to Sunderland action, but David Moyes says he has never had an injury crisis like this one in his entire managerial career.
Today’s trip to West Brom could come too soon for the former Everton pair, despite hope earlier this week that they might hand Moyes a double fitness boost.
And Jack Rodwell – who missed the midweek FA Cup defeat at the hands of Burnley – and full-back Javier Manquillo are also doubts for the game.
Moyes is hopeful he could have a couple of the four players available for selection, but admits he’s found the injury nightmare one of his worst ever.
Moyes said: “Victor and Steven and Jack all did a bit of running yesterday, and I will assess them later on this morning to see how they are.
“I’m hoping to get at least one of them back.
“Javi Manquillo had a little bit of a calf strain which he felt after the Burnley game and he had it scanned. We don’t think it is a bad one, but I’ll need to assess him this morning.
“The only faller from the squad could be Javi Manquillo, and hopefully I might be able add one or two to it.”
Even if Moyes does get a couple of players back, there will still be a huge number in the treatment room.
Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair are out for the rest of the season with cruciate knee injuries, while Lee Cattermole, Lynden Gooch and Jan Kirchhoff are long-term absentees.
Seb Larsson, Fabio Borini, Vito Mannone and Jordan Pickford have also had lengthy spells on the sidelines this season.
It’s a situation that has taken Moyes by surprise.
“You always have bad runs of injuries but not for the length of period we’ve had,” he said.
“We went into the first game of the season with Donald Love and Paddy McNair, Lynden Gooch, people shouldn’t be surprised, that was three people who should have been part of a squad.
“Since then we’ve not had a great deal of change, we’ve had to keep putting them in which has been great for them but really we’ve been short.
“You could back to Fabio doing his knee at Southampton, he was out for a long time.
“Seb and Catts never started the season, Kirch was out initially with a hamstring, came back but then was out with another.”