SUNDERLAND pair Kieran Richardson and Anton Ferdinand are both in contention to face Birmingham City on Saturday despite limping off last weekend.
And Steve Bruce’s injury headache has received a further boost with the news that Titus Bramble hopes to feature again this season for Sunderland.
Bramble had initially been ruled out of the remainder of Sunderland’s campaign with cartilage damage – the same injury which ruled him out for six weeks before Christmas.
But the centre-half will see a specialist today in the hope of being given the go-ahead to resume training next week, with the swelling in his knee dramatically reduced.
With fellow defender John Mensah ruled out for three weeks, Bruce will hope Bramble is in the frame for the visit of their former club Wigan on Saturday week.
It would certainly be a major boost for the Sunderland boss to be able to call on both Bramble and Michael Turner, who have been the best central defensive partnership for the Black Cats this season but have seen their opportunities together limited by injury.
Saturday’s trip to Birmingham will come too soon for Bramble, but Richardson and Ferdinand are both in the frame.
Richardson came off in last weekend’s defeat to West Brom after a knock to his ankle, but has now fully recovered.
The 26-year-old could either stay in midfield or switch to left-back with Phil Bardsley moving to right-back and Nedum Onuoha partnering Turner.
Ferdinand is a bigger doubt after a hamstring injury saw him replaced against the Baggies.