Sunderland striker Connor Wickham misses out on today’s game against Everton as he continues to recuperate from a knee injury.
But manager Martin O’Neill says the prognosis is good for a swift recovery for the England Under-21 striker.
Wickham was hurt challenging for a ball in the first-half of Sunderland’s 1-0 defeat at Spurs last Sunday and was substituted at half-time.
The injury was reportedly minor and there was even talk of him being involved in this afternoon’s Boxing Day game.
But even though the Everton match comes too soon, O’Neill expects to have the burly former Ipswich frontman available again in a matter of days.
“The prognosis is good,” O’Neill told the Echo. “He has been to see a specialist and we’re told that the swelling he suffered around the knee, and the fluid, have both eased off.
“It’s good news because it’s healing quickly and there looks to be no complications to it.
“As things stand, he could be back possibly in time for the Manchester City game (on New Year’s Day). We’ll see. Either way, it shouldn’t keep him sidelined for too long.”
There was further cheer on the striker front with the news that Fraizer Campbell continues to edge his way back to full fitness after a 16-month lay-off.
O’Neill confirmed: “We had a behind-closed-doors game and Fraizer came through 75 minutes of it quite comfortably.
“It’s his second game that he’s played in now and there hasn’t been any reaction in terms of his knee.
“The medical staff have told me that they’re pleased and there’s not much else for them to do now – it’s just a case of him working on regaining that strength and fitness and sharpness.
“We have to be patient with him and we must give him time, but, at the moment, the good news is that everything is heading in the right direction.”