Boost for survival hopes with return of influential Sunderland duo

Lee Cattermole
Lee Cattermole

Darron Gibson hopes influential duo Victor Anichebe and Lee Cattermole can help kick-start Sunderland’s survival hopes.

The pair are closing in on a return to first team action after knee and hip injuries respectively.

Gibson only arrived in January and is yet to feature in the same Sunderland team as either Anichebe or Cattermole but he is fully aware of how much of an impact they have when fully fit.

Anichebe has been out with a knee injury since January 21 but has an outside chance of making his return to the squad against Watford having spent the past couple of weeks working on his rehabilitation work in the US.

Moyes recently revealed he had pencilled Anichebe and Cattermole - out since November with a hip problem - for a return after the international break. Cattermole is back training but Anichebe is understood to be closer to a return than the midfielder.

“Getting Catts back will be important,” said Gibson, who joined from Everton in January.

“He has a lot of experience, he is a good leader on the pitch while Victor’s ability to hold the ball up will be a big positive for us.

“Hopefully we can get them back after the international break and things will start going our way.

“He can be unplayable when he is on form so hopefully he comes back from America and is flying.” Sunderland are seven points from safety ahead of April games against Watford, Leicester City, Manchester United, West Ham United, AFC Bournemouth and Middlesbrough.