SUNDERLAND hope to welcome back Nicklas Bendtner and Craig Gardner for selection this weekend with both players on course to shake off niggling injuries.
There is also positive news on long-term injury victims Fraizer Campbell and Craig Gordon, although Wes Brown has a slight knock and Michael Turner remains sidelined.
Manager Martin O’Neill told the Echo: “Nicklas Bendtner and Craig Gardner both trained with the rest of the squad for the first time yesterday, so that’s good news.
“Nicklas has had a groin strain and Craig had a tightness in his hamstring which ruled him out of the Blackburn game on Sunday.
“But both have chances of being involved in the squad for the Spurs game this Sunday.
“We hope the same is true for Wes Brown who has missed a bit of training this week with a minor knock, but Michael Turner is out of contention still.
“His knee injury is not a serious one but it is slow to recover.”
Campbell and Gordon were both involved in a behind closed doors practice game yesterday after both got the all-clear to step up their efforts to push for a return to first-team availability.
But the manager warned fans not to expect Campbell back in the immediate future.
“It would be hard to throw Fraizer into a game,” he said.
“We threw Connor into a game at the weekend but he had played five weeks previously.
“Fraizer hasn’t played for a long, long time before that.
“So the practice game will hopefully be a step in the right direction.
“It’s essentially geared for him so the more we can get out of that the better it will be for him.
“He’s under no pressure though and it’s just to see the two of them coming along.”