Jack Ross is hoping that he will have a bigger squad to call upon for Sunderland’s crunch easter weekend fixtures.
The Black Cats face difficult fixtures against Doncaster Rovers and Peterborough United just two days apart.
Ross has seen his options signficantly diminished in recent weeks, with Chris Maguire and Adam Matthews longer term absentees.
Influential pair Aiden McGeady and Lee Cattermole have also been sidelined, though they were able to take a place on the bench for the 5-4 defeat to Coventry City.
Ross is hoping that almost a full week of training will see them improve their fitness.
The return of Maguire is also a possibility that will excite Sunderland supporters.
“Dylan [McGeouch], we don’t know [if he’ll be fit for Saturday],” Ross said.
“Reece [James] and Adam [Matthews] I would hope might be able to train by the middle of the week but obviously the game is Friday.
“Chris [Maguire] trained Thursday and Friday a little bit, so potentially if he can get through a week’s training he might come back into contention.
“Lee [Cattermole] only joined training on Thursday, Aiden [McGeady] has not been training.
“Lynden [Gooch} will be touch and go,” he added.
“We’re stretched, it’s not a good time of the season to be stretched, but we are. I wouldn’t know until the week unfolds as to who might be available.
“It was a bit limited in terms of the changes we could make during the game on Saturday but certainly for Lee, he’s going to get a week’s training in which will help.”
Cattermole’s return could be particularly crucial after the chastening defeat to Coventry.
With McGeouch sidelined for that game, Ross had few options to strengthen a midfield that was struggling to protect an off-form defence.
Ross is left with a big decision to make when it comes to the shape of his side to face a Doncaster Rovers side who have impressed all season with their pressing game.
Both Charlie Wyke and Will Grigg scored in a good attacking performance against Coventry City but playing two up front at home has left the Black Cats exposed in recent games.
Ross admits he will be weighing up his options in the coming days but insisted that Sunderland’s issues on Saturday were not primarily down to formation.
“Saturday was a lot to with decision making,” he said.
“Two or three of the goals, we’re on the ball. So that’s something different to being cut open and is more frustrating because you’re in control at that time.
“There’s a lot for us to reflect upon from the last couple of weeks,” he added.
“We’ve worked hard to try and dig out results in this busy period, and we’ve had to use near enough every member of our squad in that time.
“This four or five days is a chance for us to reflect on what’s best for what lies ahead for us at the weekend.”
Any switch would leave Ross facing a big decision up front.
Wyke’s contributions of late have been vital and the Black Cats boss was full of praise for his efforts after the game on Saturday.
“He’s been like that for a number of games now, he’s getting better,” Ross said.
“I said a few weeks ago if he could play in that manner he’d be a huge asset for us now between now and the end of the season, and he did that again today. I’m pleased he got his reward with a goal, he’ll be disappointed to be on the losing team but it’s a big plus for us at this stage of the season.”