Victor Anichebe closing in on Sunderland return as he wins praise from Watford defender

Victor Anichebe is set to return to action after the international break
Victor Anichebe is set to return to action after the international break
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Victor Anichebe is closing in on a return to the Sunderland squad ahead of what is set to be a pivotal month.

Sunderland return to Premier League action this weekend when they travel to take on Watford - the first of six top flight games in April.

And ahead of the crunch game Hornets defender Christian Kabasele says the 28-year-old forward is the opponent that has caused him the most trouble so far in his debut season in English football.

The pair locked horns at the Stadium of Light in December, with Sunderland coming out on top thanks to a 49th minute winner from Patrick van Aanholt.

Anichebe has been out with a knee injury since January 21 but has an outside chance of making his return to the squad this weekend having spent the past couple of weeks working on his rehabilitation work in the US.

Relegation-threatened Sunderland are bottom, seven points from safety ahead of April games against Watford, Leicester City, Manchester United, West Ham United, AFC Bournemouth and Middlesbrough.

The return of Anichebe would give injury-hit Sunderland a major boost, with the forward playing a key role in the run of four wins from seven in November and December.

"I was mentally prepared to take the plunge [of coming to England]," Kabasele told RTBF.be ahead of the weekend clash.

"I did not have too many problems with the pace of the matches, even if the attackers are much faster than in Belgium.

"Dealing with a [Sergio] Aguero, [Diego] Costa or [Sadio] Mane does not leave you a second of respite, so I need my ability to catch up with attackers who have gone past me."

"I had the most trouble against Victor Anichebe," admitted Kabasele, who came on as a first half sub against Sunderland when the sides met in December.

"But for me Romelu (Lukaku) is the best striker in the Premier League. Too bad I cannot ask for autographs anymore!"

The defender has been out injured since January 21, the same length of time as Anichebe with both hopeful they will be back involved this weekend.

Moyes recently revealed he had pencilled Anichebe and Lee Cattermole - out since November with a hip problem - for a return when the Premier League resumes after the latest two-week break.

Cattermole returned to training at the Academy of Light last week but Anichebe is understood to be closer to a return than Cattermole.

It remains to be seen whether the pair make the squad against Watford this weekend but Moyes is hopeful they will both soon be involved.

Speaking last week, Moyes said: "We hope that Victor could be back and maybe Catts.

"I think Catts could get some training in but the one we’re really looking to see if we can get back is Victor.

"There are no guarantees but I know Victor’s doing a bit more running and hopefully getting closer.

"My bigger worry is how can they get a level of match fitness to make a difference and help us in such a short time.

"I have to hope that we can get them back and give ourselves another dimension, even if it’s getting them back off the bench late on."