Jack Ross gets major boost with Sunderland midfielder pushing for Man City return
Ethan Robson could make his return from injury in the Checkatrade Trophy next Tuesday.
Robson has endured a hugely frustrating season, missing since October due to injury.
The 22-year-old has trained fully with the Black Cats this week and will step his recovery next week whether it be with the first team or the U23s.
"He's trained the full week, this week, which is good," Ross said.
"I've said often enough how much I like him. He's had a frustrating season.
"We've got an U23 game on Monday and then obviously the Checkatrade Trophy game on Tuesday.
"We just need to make a decision on which one he is involved in.
"If he is involved with us, then it will probably only be from the bench because he has been out for a long time."
The U23s face Charlton Athletic on Monday in the Premier League cup.
After arriving on Wearside in the summer Ross quickly identified Robson as a midfielder who could play a significant part this season.
He broke through into the first team picture in the second half of last season, signing a contract extension in March.
He quickly committed himself to the club's rebuild in League One and with Ross short on options, he was in line to play the opening game against Charlton Athletic.
Injury intervened and that set the tone for the campaign so far, with Robson making just two Checkatrade Trophy appearances so far.
He scored against Carlisle United before leaving the pitch with an ankle problem.
The midfield options for Ross are far stronger now but the return of Robson is still a very welcome boost.
"Even now, just having him back, it reminds you how good of a player he is," Ross said.
"He's got quality, it's just been disappointing he's not been available.
"But he's trained all week an not had any reaction.
"We've had times when we've been short in central midfield and then there's been the other Checkatrade games as well.
"Then with this game coming up, we've got the situation where Bali Mumba is suspended for being a midfield enforced and picking up two yellow cards...
"This tournament continues to throw up interesting scenarios."