Ethan Robson is set to feature when Sunderland face Manchester City U21s on Tuesday night.
The 22-year-old has been missing since October with an ankle problem but will return in the Checkatrade Trophy quarter final.
Jack Ross had been weighing up playing Robson in an U23 game against Charlton Athletic on Monday night but will instead have the talented midfielder in his ranks at the Stadium of Light.
Ross will make changes to his usual league side for the game, but Bali Mumba is suspended.
"Ethan will be involved with us in the squad," Ross said.
"He's obviously not played since the Carlisle game but he'll hopefully get some game time."
Another promising youngster closing in on a return is left-back Denver Hume.
Hume played his way into first team contention earlier in the season but suffered a bad knee injury in the opening stages of a 1-1 draw with Coventry City back in September.
The 20-year-old is back in full training.
"He joined in with bits of training last week" Ross said.
"This will be his first week of full training, he's obviously been out since the Coventry game, which is quite a long time.
"He's looked good, fit and strong.
"He'll need a couple of weeks of full training before we get him involved in games."
The likes of Bryan Oviedo and Alim Ozturk are likely to feature on Tuesday night as Ross rotates his squad.
"We don't play Saturday so that has helped my squad selection," Ross said.
"We've got quite a few bumps and bruises from Scunthorpe, which we'll have to assess over the next 24 hours.
"It's important we get some game time into those that haven't had a lot of it recently."