Jamie McAllister gives full Sunderland injury update with news on Denver Hume and Jordan Jones
Denver Hume will step up his comeback from a hamstring injury next week as he closes in on a Sunderland return.
Hume has not featured for the Black Cats since suffering a hamstring injury early in Lee Johnson's first game as Sunderland manager all the way back on December 5th.
Hume has returned to full training with his team-mates this week and assistant head coach Jamie McAllister said he is 'looking strong'.
Sunderland's management staff are nevertheless keen to ensure that Hume is managed carefully ahead of the final games of the campaign, in which he could have a major impact.
They will as such look to ease him back into competitive football and assess him from there before he is considered for League One action.
"Denver Hume is ticking off the training sessions and it's great for us that he's back," McAllister said.
"He's looking good, looking strong.
"He has been out for a while though and he does need games.
"So it's whether he does that through in-house games, which we're trying to arrange for next week, or whether he plays some minutes against Crystal Palace for the U23s next week.
"That's another option and we're looking at all of that at the moment.
"It's just case of topping up and keeping him injury free because he will be a big bonus for us when he comes back."
Sunderland are expecting to go into Saturday's clash with Lincoln City with the same squad as they had for the 2-0 win over Accrington Stanley on Wednesday evening.
Aiden O'Brien is back in light training but the visit of Michael Appleton's side will is expected to come too soon for the Irishman.
Tom Flanagan is around three weeks from returning, and while Jordan Jones and Bailey Wright are making progress, it seems likely at this stage that they will be out of action for at least another week.
"Aiden O'Brien is closer than Jordan and Bailey," McAllister said.
"Those two are probably in the same category. They've both done a good bike session today, they've been doing a lot of pool work and strengthening work.
"They're not back on the grass yet."