Sunderland's hopes of staying up have been handed a fitness boost with Seb Larsson pushing for a first team recall.
The Swedish midfielder hopes he can inject fresh energy into Sunderland’s ranks during the relegation run-in after the longest injury lay-off of his career.
Larsson told the Echo: "It was one of those ligament injuries which didn’t look as bad straightaway.
"But once I went to see different people, we realised that it was a bit worse than we were hoping for.
"Of course you always hope to be back a bit quicker, but it wasn’t to be."
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Yesterday afternoon Sunderland chief executive Margaret Byrne resigned with immediate effect in the wake of Adam Johnson's sex offence convictions.
Pressure has been growing on Byrne ever since Johnson claimed during his Crown Court trial that he had made full and frank admissions to the club and she had all the messages exchanged and transcripts from police interviews.
Sunderland initially suspended Johnson for a fortnight in March last year, but then allowed him back into the squad as the club fought relegation, and he was able to make a further 28 appearances.
But Sunderland have now acknowledged that the decision was wrong to let Johnson play again and the board have accepted Byrne's resignation.
Sunderland reporter Chris Young has had his say in today's Sunderland Echo.
And you can read his comment piece here about how Byrne's resignation is a chance for a new era at the Stadium of Light.
Finally - the Tyne-Wear derby is just around the corner and anticipation is building here in the North East.
And we want you to share your memories of the fixture over the years!
Simply share your memories below and inbox us your pictures from previous derby games at the Stadium of Light and St James's Park or tweet them to @sunechosafc
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