NICKLAS Bendtner has suffered no serious damage from the knee injury which forced him out of Sunderland’s 1-0 win over Liverpool.
And the good news for Sunderland is that the big Dane should be fit enough to face Everton in the crunch FA Cup quarter-final this Saturday.
Bendtner received several minutes of treatment at the weekend before being stretchered off in the wake of a clumsy challenge from Martin Skrtl late in the game against the Reds at the Stadium of Light.
And that left the club waiting anxiously to see whether – with Stephane Sessegnon already suspended – they would be going into the quarter-final deprived of the services of the on-loan Arsenal man as well.
However, Martin O’Neill revealed today: “The news on Nicklas is encouraging.
“We had originally been expecting to wait 48 hours for swelling to go down around the knee before we could consider a scan.
“But the knee itself got much better in the 24 hours immediately afterwards, which looked good, and it meant he felt quietly confident about doing a little bit of training yesterday.
“The very fact that he felt confident enough to want to try it out is obviously a good sign, but we just have to wait and see how it develops over the week and see whether there’s any reaction.”
Bendtner has scored two goals in his last two games since returning from a facial injury wearing a protective mask, and O’Neill says that Sunderland could well do with the in-form forward’s attacking input.
“You can never pre-judge a game, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the cup game against Everton is a tight affair, and that being the case, you need players who can nick you a goal and players who can stop them going in at the other end.
“We had that at the weekend in what was a very tight game against Liverpool, but we were defensively very solid and we had players like Fraizer Campbell and Nicklas who always had the ability to be dangerous in attack.
“We’ll miss Stephane Sessegnon and Lee Cattermole in the cup game as they continue to serve out their suspensions, so we really need players to come in and take on the challenge.
“But thankfully we got that against Liverpool, when I thought all the players did terrifically well, and with a bit of luck we’ll get it this weekend.
“Certainly, though, we could do with as few injuries as possible, and with Nicklas showing good signs of recovering quickly, we have to be happy about that.”