Sunderland continue to take a cautious approach with forward Duncan Watmore as he battles back to fitness.
Watmore, 24, is seven months into recovering from his second ACL injury sustained against Millwall back in November 2017.
While Sunderland are eager not to put any pressure on Watmore as he makes his recovery, both the club and player have been pleased with progress to date.
He was with the team during their pre-season training camp in Portugal and Jack Ross is hoping to be able to call upon him in the autumn.
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Sunderland’s head physiotherapist Peter Brand says Watmore is making positive strides.
“We are seven months into a nine to 12-month period of rehab,” said Brand.
“It is his second operation, so we are always going to be a little bit more cautious with this one.
“The reality is that Duncan is doing extremely well.
“He is seven months down the line and we are hopeful of getting him back within that nine to 12-month period.
“He has been in Portugal over the last week to take his rehab to the next level.
“Everything he has done up to now is very much strength and straight line running.
“He has progressed quickly and now he is running offline and he has got the footballs out. In the background he is continuing all his strength work.”
He added: “A big thank you has to go to David Binningsley for all the tireless work he has done with him over the last two years.
“Duncan is now in a very good position to push on and he has got an excellent base to work from.”
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Ross, speaking earlier this month, said: “He hopefully will be late September, maybe October for a full return.
“He’s doing really well. He has been out on the pitch, not with us but out there.
“He’s a tremendously positive young man anyway, so he’d always give you the impression that he’s fantastic in any case.”