Charlie Wyke looks to clear the final hurdle in his Sunderland comeback on Friday
Jack Ross is hoping that Charlie Wyke will clear the final hurdle in his comeback from injury on Friday.
The striker will look to complete 90 minutes in a training game with the U23s as he looks to win a place in the squad for the visit of Bradford City on Boxing Day.
Wyke suffered a nasty knee injury in September after a collision with Burton Albion Dimitar Evtimov.
A problem with the same knee had kept him out of action after signing for the Black Cats.
Ross know hopes that the 26-year-old is in good shape to make a significant and sustained impact on the pitch.
“He’ll play in a bounce game with the U23s on Friday,” Ross said.
“He won’t travel with us [to Portsmouth].
“He’s been training again all week with us.
“If he comes through that unscathed he’ll be back in with us for the matchday squads which is brilliant.
“He looks really good, physically he looks a lot better than we brought him back the first time which I’m pleased about.
“Because of that, mentally he’s in a lot better place.
“Friday is about getting 90 minutes under his belt and once he’s got that then he’s good to go.”
Wyke’s return will add significant competition for places in the forward areas.
Duncan Watmore is currently being used as a central striker as Ross looks to manage his workload after injury, while Josh Maja’s goalscoring record speaks for itself.
Ross, who remains hopeful that Maja will agree a new deal, says that extra competition can actually help the 19-year-old.
“I think it’ll be a good thing for him because it’ll take some of the weight off his shoulders,” Ross said.
“He’s had to carry that.
“Then there’s the potential for us to play in different ways to take some workload off him.
“That’s always been my plan, it’s just taken a while to get that competition.”