David Moyes provides injury updates on Sunderland trio
Jan Kirchhoff has been ruled out for three months but David Moyes hopes to have some of his walking wounded back for the Boxing Day clash against Manchester United.
Billy Jones (hip), Javier Manquillo and Steven Pienaar (calf) have all returned to training after missing the Watford win.
Moyes will assess the trio ahead of the trip to Old Trafford but hopes to be able to call on some, with Jack Rodwell closing in on a return.
Kirchhoff, however, has been ruled out for three months, it has been confirmed with a knee cartilage tear.
There was brighter news on the other injured players ahead of a busy festive programme with Manchester United away followed by Burnley away on New Year’s Eve.
“The likes of Billy, Javier, Jack Rodwell and Steven Pienaar are making progress,” said Moyes.
“I expect some of them to make the [Manchester United] game, not all of them.
“I also have to take into consideration we have a game four or five days later as well, we can’t bring anybody back that could re-injure.
“We have to give them the right amount of training time too to make sure they are in the best condition.
“Jan Kirchhoff has had surgery on his knee too, that will keep him out for about 12 weeks, we think.”