Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray gives a big injury update on Everton loanee Ellis Simms

Sunderland are likely to be without a senior striker again when Wigan Athletic visit the Stadium of Light this weekend, but Tony Mowbray is hopeful that Ellis Simms is nearing a comeback.

Simms will take part in some training on Thursday for the first time since suffering a toe injury against Reading last month.

The Everton loanee has been running on a treadmill designed especially to take the weight off the affected area, and is now deemed ready to take his comeback to the next stage.

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Simms isn’t expected to feature on Saturday but the Black Cats will monitor him closely.

Sunderland striker Eliis Simms

Asked about the striker situation ahead of Saturday, Mowbray said: "Not a lot changes, Ellis is getting his boots on today and getting back on the grass.

“He’s been on the treadmill and he felt fine so he’s getting his boots on and going outside. We’ll have to see how he goes.

“If he comes through the next days then you never know, he won't be too far away.

“First and foremost he has to come through today pain free, so that in his mind he can put his boots again tomorrow and do it again or increase it.

“The basic scenario is that he can jog [without pain], in and out of cones, maybe a few box-to-boxes and he feels OK, so that he can gradually increase the intensity.

“It'll be probably around a week of steadily increasing it and then if he's still OK, you can start to get him involved with some of the team training drills.

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“I would suggest that it will probably will still be a while."